Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zoo News Digest 12th - 20th September 2015 (ZooNews 908)

Zoo News Digest 12th - 20th September 2015 (ZooNews 908)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

My sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ryszard Pakla of Wroclaw Zoo and Samantha Lynda Kudeweh of Hamilton Zoo, both of whom were killed by Tigers this past week. It is so very sad. I do hope that after a full investigation that the details are made available so we can all learn from these tragedies.

Many years ago we rescued a dog. Perhaps 'rescued' is not the right word as my ex-wife removed the animal from her owners yard where she was kept chained up and short of food. When the owners complained my ex-wife threatened to report them to the authorities. With love and affection our dog quickly regained her physique and to us was a truly beautiful animal. She was great with my young children, with my cats and with whatever animals we may have had in the house at the time. She was however quite fearsome looking and when I took her out to exercise, people would cross over the road rather than come close to her. As time passed by the UK government passed the dangerous dog act and it was pointed out to us that she was a Bandog and so of a 'mixed breed' to which the act referred. In order to keep her we had to insure her for an exorbitant sum and keep her on a leash and muzzled at all times when out of our house. The poor animal didn't know what had happened. She was longer allowed to run free in the fields, to chase balls or play with other dogs. She had never ever been a problem to anyone or any living thing. So what is the point of this story? Well it, in part, shapes my way of thinking about elephants. I am in favour of 'Free Contact'. Not that I am against 'Protected Contact', that as I see it is the choice of the zoo and of the keepers who work in those zoos. However I don't see it as right that the AZA should force it upon their members to use 'Protected Contact' or get out. I have heard all the arguments, I know about the sad unfortunate accidents which have occurred (like those above), but for me, it isn't one that works. I have not had huge elephant experience, a dozen animals in all, and all in 'Free Contact'. Ten of those animals loved me and I loved them. Two of them hated me, but I loved them too. I cannot see myself applying for an elephant position today or in the future but if I did I would not consider a 'Protected Contact' post. What makes this current situation worse in my eyes is that I have the highest respect for the AZA as they are sticklers for what makes a good zoo. This insistence on the use of 'Protected Contact' means that any zoo which fails to oblige will have to go. It's lonely out there. They will have the choice of course to join up with some other organisation, an organisation which may have much lower standards than the AZA and a mixed up idea of the meaning of conservation. Who would want to climb into bed with people who breed hybrid tigers…just for a start?

If I go back even earlier than our rescued dog to the start of my zoo profession it was at that time when zoos were littered with ex circus employees. I learnt much from them on how not to handle elephants. In fact this continues to influence my feelings on circus today. Again I know there are good and bad out there. Sadly some of the bad are still there. I could name them but I won't. I doubt there are any within the AZA….but outside? I do hope the AZA give some re-consideration to their edict.

Yet again Persons unknown spent a good few hours last week trying to hack into my computer. I'm puzzled to know why. I know that each and every week I manage to upset somebody but I hardly think I am worth being hacked. Perhaps they were after my zoo database. I never think too much about that but I have been offered big money for it a few times. It would be against my principles to ever do so though. I know that my ZooNews Digest in mail out or Facebook format reaches more people in the zoo world than any other medium…and so it should, it has been operating longer than all the rest.

This week I republished "How Much Does A ZooKeeper Earn" and posted it out on Facebook. All well and good. There were a lot of likes, several shares and a few comments….from ZooKeepers. They make puzzling reading. I read through the comments several times…I then re-read the article twice. I honestly believe that people just go ahead and comment without reading the article or perhaps never get further than the first paragraph before writing their comment….which is their 'opinion' of course in as much as the article or this article….or any article…is an opinion.

I find it ridiculous that anyone should want to enter a zoo whilst armed. I suspect a disturbed mind at work and that in itself should be reason enough to ban it. I have been shot at a few times in my life including once in a zoo. It is not a pleasant experience. I have also been knocked about (again in a zoo) with a submachine gun on more than occasion. The zoo is no place for gun toting visitors. I rarely carry links to people being shot outside zoos but I do recollect at least three in the last ten years.

I'm not being picky here but several times over the past month I have seen it stated by people defending Dolphin and Orca displays that 'It is only the display pool' and that they have more room around the back after the shows. Really? Can anyone tell me of a facility where the holding pens are bigger than the display pools…..and here I am not talking about sea pens.

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


Interesting Links

Sumatran tiger kills keeper in Wroclaw zoo in Poland
A police spokesman says a tiger has fatally wounded a keeper at a zoo in Wroclaw, southwestern Poland.

Kamil Rynkiewicz said the rare Sumatran tiger attacked the man Wednesday morning, probably during routine cleaning of the animal’s run. Police were notified by an ambulance crew who were called to the site. Prosecutors are investigating the accident.

TVN24 said the man had 20 years of experience in taking care of predators at the zoo. The zoo director was to hold a news conference

Tiger kills keeper at Hamilton Zoo
The senior zookeeper killed by a tiger at Hamilton Zoo on Sunday morning had worked there for more than 20 years.

She was identified by police late on Sunday as Samantha Lynda Kudeweh, 43, of Pirongia.

Her family had been advised of her death, they said.

On her biography on the Hamilton Zoo website, she is pictured face-to-face with a tiger separated from the animal by a cage.

San Antonio Zoo's Tim Morrow Addresses Lucky The Elephant Controversy
After nearly two decades working at SeaWorld, Tim Morrow thought he was basically set for life – planning to stay with the company until retirement.

Then he got a call from a recruiter asking if he'd be interested in the top post at the San Antonio Zoo. His initial reaction was to say he was all set, but then he thought about it some more and decided to go

Wolf escapes from zoo in Bulgaria’s Blagoevgrad
A wolf has escaped from its cage at the zoo in the Bulgarian town of Blagoevgrad, the District Interior Ministry Directorate announced.
The animal is still on the territory of the zoo. The area has been closed off by officers with the police and the gendarmerie.
Authorities are now waiting for qualifi

Here's How To Shut Down A Zoo Or Aquarium
I feel really sad about how politicized the topic of animal care has become.
You're either in one "camp" or the other, it seems.  Some people in the cyber universe have christened these camps as "pro-cap" and "anti-cap", which are ridiculous titles regardless of your opinion about the topic because they do not represent what anyone really stands for. 

Asiatic lions sent to 53 zoos in 50 years
Gir sanctuary, the last abode of Asiatic lions, over the last 50 years of its existence, sent big cats to 53 zoos in US, UK, Sweden, Malaysia, France, Singapore, and other countries. Three lionesses - Heidi, Ruby and Indi - in London trace their origin to Gir.

The Zoological Society of London has now sought two more pairs of lions from the Gujarat forest department. The proposal is awaiting state government's approval. "Meanwhile, the state government has already cleared similar proposals to send lions to Prague zoo situated in Czech Republic," said J S Prajapati, deputy conservator of forest, Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagad.

AP Singh, chief conservator of forests, wildlife circle, Junagadh, said, "We also maintain an Indian National Stud Book which contains records of all Gir lions in zoos across the globe. We have sent 130 lions, captured from the wild in Gir, to various zoos across the country too

Aquarium Corals of Anchorage Poison 10 1/2 Humans, Two Dogs, and One Cat
On August 12, 2014, a man arrived at a hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, with peculiar symptoms and an even stranger story. He was suffering from fever, cough, nausea, pain, and a bitter metallic taste in his mouth, but he already had an idea of who the culprit might be, and it was a doozy: a zoanthid coral.

There are few places that seem less likely for a zoanthid coral attack than Anchorage, Alaska. And yet such a coral managed to poison around a dozen people and animals in their homes and places of work in Anchorage over the last few years, according to a report last month in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly from scientists at Alaska's Division of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What attacked the people and animals was not the corals per se, but a substance called palytoxin. This molecule binds to the sodium-potassium ATPase, a protein crucial to normal cell functioning that uses t

Chicago Zoological Society to Honor Recipients of 2015 Conservation Leadership Awards
The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, will honor three recipients for their dedicated commitment to conservation and animal welfare at its 12th annual Conservation Leadership Awards Dinner on Sept. 30.

This year’s award winners are George Archibald, co-founder and senior conservationist of the International Crane Foundation; Susan Regenstein and The Regenstein Foundation, long-time supporters of Brookfield Zoo and the Society; and the Forest Preserves of Cook County, a steward in the prese

Can a nonhuman ape be a film buff?
You'll never forget some movie scenes, particularly in thrillers. The moment of terror may be imprinted on your mind, but you’re not alone.

Our hairy cousins, it turns out, can remember scary or dramatic moments in a film too.

Just as you might anticipate an upcoming moment in a previously watched thriller, chimpanzees and bonobos keep an eye on the part of the screen where something exciting will happen, acco

How not to save the rhino
As conservation efforts fail, scientists and economists are coming up with increasingly loony and dangerous schemes to save the rhino
Last month it was confirmed that the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is extinct in Malaysia. The future looks bleak for this species. The few dozen remaining individuals are confined to remote forests in Sumatra (Indonesia), in refuges that are under siege on an island devastated by rampant deforestation.

Rhinos are under threat worldwide. The estimated population of the Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), just 60 individuals, is even lower than that of the Sumatran rhino. In 2011 the West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) was declared extinct. The global population of another African sub-species, the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), now consists of four individuals, all in zoos, none of them in breeding condition.

I find it shocking that the collapse of rhino pop

The Last of the Sumatran Tigers

Begawan Diary

Pittsburgh zoo drops accreditation due to disagreement over elephant handling
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredits 68 other zoos with elephants in the U.S.
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums will no longer accredit the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium due to a disagreement over a new association safety policy that restricts zookeepers’ contact with elephants.

The Pittsburgh Zoo, in a statement issued Monday, said it had a “philosophical difference of opinion” with the AZA policy and will instead follow policies set by another zoo accrediting organization, the Zoological Association of America, which are more flexible.

“The Pittsburgh Zoo believes very strongly that decisions regarding our Zoo’s animals must be made by the professionals who are knowledgeable about the institution’s programs and staff and specifically trained to handle our animals,” said Barbara Baker, the Pittsburgh Zoo’s president and chief executive officer. “In the Pittsburgh tradition, we embrace this core principle and philosophy.”

The Pittsburgh Zoo, which has six elephants, has been an accredited AZA member for 29 years. In November 2002, a keeper was crushed to death by an elephant during a morning exercise walk at the zoo.

The AZA, the largest and oldest accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and seven other countries, issued a statement saying it was “disappointed” the Pittsburgh Zoo “decided their status quo was preferable to complying with the

Pittsburgh Zoo loses sea turtle program, playground grant after dropping accreditation
Sea turtles and money for a children’s playground are the first, but possibly not the only, collateral damage caused by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium's decision last week to drop out of a prestigious accrediting organization in a dispute over how its elephant herd should be handled.

Because it is no longer an accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums facility, the zoo in Highland Park doesn’t qualify for participation in the Sea Turtle Second Chance program, which aids hatchlings of endangered loggerhead, green and leatherback turtles and has operated at the zoo since 2009.

“The requirement for permitting our program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is that participating facilities be AZA accredited,” said Maylon White, director of the North Carolina Aquariums at Roanoke Island, which holds the federal endangered species permit. “Up until a day or two ago, Pittsburgh met those standards. Now we’re working out the logistics to bring the turtles back here.”

The Pittsburgh Zoo will need to reapply to the AZA to continue its participation as a non-member in more than 100 species sustainability programs that aid threatened and endangered species through research and breeding of shared animals. The AZA has also pulled its $5,000 grant for a children’s “nature playground” at th

Seattle Aquarium's Otter Inhaler Helps Treat Critter With Asthma
The Seattle Aquarium is hoping an inhaler can help a sea otter who officials believe developed asthma because of wildfire smoke near the city.

The 1-year-old sea otter named Mishka developed breathing problems recently when smoke from the Eastern Washington wildfires moved into the Puget Sound ar

A fifth of visitors get sad when they go to the zoo
One in five people surveyed in a YouGov poll for Metroxpress said that visiting the zoo made them more sad than happy, and a quarter answered that this was because it seemed like the animals weren’t happy.

However, Mads Bertelsen, a vet at Copenhagen Zoo and adjunt professor in zoology at the University of Copenhagen, told Metroxpress he doesn’t believe this to be the case.

“Our animals aren’t unhappy, but if some of our visitors get that impression, there’s something we aren’t getting across well enough,” he said.

According to Bertelsen, a zoo animal’

Chester Zoo birds to be reintroduced to the wild
A bird species that was extinct in Europe for more than 300 years is to receive a welcome boost, thanks to the efforts of keepers at Chester Zoo who are releasing them back into the wild.

Four northern bald ibis chicks have been relocated to Jerez in southern Spain as part of an international conservation effort to tackle the drastic decline in numbers.

The birds will be kept in an aviary at the Spanish zoo until the end of November when they will get the best possible start in the wild. Before that they will be introduced to other chicks bred in other European zoos this yea

Two big cats die at S.V. Zoological Park
Two big cats, a lioness and a white tiger, died due to health-related issues at Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park (SVZP), here on Friday. According to zoo officials, the 16-year-old lioness Yampa, rescued from National Circus in Maharashtra in 2001 and later transferred to SVZP’s Animal Rescue Centre, passed away owing to old age. “For the past few days, Yampa had been suffering from paralysis, besides being ridden with sores and ill-health,” they added. The three-year-old white tiger Balaram sustained an injury near its tail, during a playful banter with other tigers. Des

Last Remaining White Rhino Sick; Zoo Officials Don’t Know Why
Veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Thursday performed a surgical procedure on an abscess on the right hip of an aging northern white rhinoceros in an attempt to get to the cause of the recurring ailment.

Nola, 41, is one of just four northern white rhinos remaining in the world. She’s been on antibiotics since near the beginning of the month for the abscess, which animal keepers flush daily.

According to the zoo, the veterinarians couldn’t immediately determine the cause of Nola’s condition, but they took tissue and blood samples for further investigation. Results of the tests are due in a week of two.

Going deep into the abscess also helped it drain better and relieve pressure that can cause pain, park officials said.

“We are treating Nola for a bacterial infection on her right hip,” said Dr. Jim Oosterhuis, a veterinarian at the park.

“The inside of the abscess is very hard, and we want to determine what may be causing this,” Oosterhuis said. “At this point, we simply don’t kn

World leaders urged to join campaign to free Kaavan
An international campaign to free an Asian elephant — chained and kept in solitary confinement for years at Islamabad Zoo — intensified after animal rights activists announced they would approach international leaders to intervene after the lackadaisical response from the Pakistani government.

The CDA management – specifically the environment wing, which oversees affairs of the zoo – has remained indifferent to thousands of appeals lodged by animal lo

Experts dispel spider bite's connection to mental illness
Following a shooting at Delta State University, investigators are now checking claims that a spider bite caused the suspected shooter to have mental health problems.

Professor Shannon Lamb reportedly shot and killed Amy Prentiss and Dr. Ethan Schmidt before killing himself.

Experts at the Memphis Zoo stated they have never heard of a spider bite causing a mental reaction.

"In my experience, you would not have a severe mental reaction to a spider bite," Memphis Zoo Assistant Curator Chris Baker said. "They're physical reactions easily treated by medical doctors."

Baker has studied spiders for 17 years. He explained that spider bites, even from the most venomous animals, typically only cause a physical reaction to skin

Govt mulls new model of zoo operation
The government is likely to grant license to any organisation or agency to operate zoos if they meet the purposes including education, research as well as study and entertainment.
An amendment proposal to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (NWCA) 1973 has included a provision that allows institutions or agencies to operate zoos if they meet criterions set by the government and serve the purpose of education, research, breeding, genetic resource conservation and study, among others.
The proposal which is under discussion at the Ministry Forests and Soil Conservation and if approved, it will open the door for private sector as well as interested agencies to establish mini zoos across the country. Until now, there is no specific legal and regulatory framework that talks about zoo management. The Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, operated under the National Trust for Nature Conservation is the only zoo in the country that manages captive animals from across the country.
Sarita Gyawali, chief at the Central Zoo, however, said the inclusion of a

An animal conservationist came up with a brilliant way to save these obscure, adorable mammals
A squat, hoofed creature with the body of a pig and the elongated snout of an anteater appeared in the photo projected on stage at the TED Fellows Retreat in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California. Roughly half the size of a horse, it lazily munches on a bunch of leaves just inches from a woman's face.

"This is one of the most amazing animals on the face of the earth,” said conservationist Patricia Medici, the woman in the photo. "This is a tapir."

The tapir, a large, powerful relative of the horse and rhinoceros, is one of the most helpful herbivores in the animal kingdom. As tapirs roam the forests and grasslands of Central and South America, they deposit fruit seeds through their feces — promoting future plant growth and shaping the region's biodiversity.

For this reason, they're known as the "gardeners

Inside the 'Zoo from Hell':
A schoolboy kicks a frightened monkey's tiny metal cage as a crocodile languishes in a concrete pool of its own urine, fed on dead dogs
A schoolboy laughs as he kicks out at a frightened monkey peering out from behind a wire cage, sending the animal screeching backwards in terror.
The boy moved from cage to cage, his friends giggling and taking photos on mobile phones, as he lashes out at other animals before a younger boy joined in to more laughter.
This is the distressing daily routine at what one wildlife expert called ‘the Zoo From Hell’, Borneo's Yuk Chin Mini Zoo - a shabby maze of metal cages where tortured animals are rarely fed.
It is here where a crocodile, living in a pond in its own urine, is occasionally tossed dead dogs and cats to eat.

Sabah WIldlife freezes applications for mini zoos following ‘zoo from hell’ expose
Sabah Wildlife Department today froze all applications to operate new mini zoos in the state, and launched a statewide operation against badly run zoos.
Its director William Baya said a directive had been issued to all wildlife officers that no new licences for mini zoos be issued.
“We also want to ensure that the existing licence holders will keep their zoos clean and well kept,” he said, in the wake of their recent rescue operation at the Yuk Chin Mini Zoo in Tawau.
Baya said the mini zoo was set up by the Yuk Chin Primary School over 20 years ago with the intention of educating its pupils o

Mauling, escapes and abuse: 6 small zoos, 80 sick or dead animals
The owner of the Reston Zoo in Northern Virginia has extolled the staff’s love of animals, but an employee drowned an injured wallaby in a plastic bucket, and a frostbitten spider monkey went so long without treatment that it had to be euthanized.

The Natural Bridge Zoo in western Virginia is billed as a sanctuary, but on recent visits, federal inspectors found more than 40 animals in need of veterinary care and questioned staff about a video that shows employees jabbing a monkey with sticks.

The Tri-State Zoological Park in Western Maryland advertises itself as a great stop for kids, but an inspector reported that some children had reached through a cage to pet tigers while a guide stood nearby.

Those are among a host of ­problems identified at six small zoos in Maryland and Virginia that are popular destinat

Are American eels endangered? Should we care?
The American eel may be ugly, but if it disappears, the impacts on the ecosystem will be even uglier.

Anguilla rostrata is a catadromous fish, meaning that it migrates from freshwater to spawn in saltwater. The eels travel 1,600 miles from the Sargasso Sea to freshwater rivers and streams, and then back to the sea.

Unless, of course, they are intercepted by fishermen who sell them to Asian food markets, which pay top dollar for young "glass eels" that the

What Does the Giraffe Say? Scientists Find the Answer
COWS MOO, LIONS roar, and pigs oink. But for many years it’s been assumed that, except for the occasional snort, giraffes spent most of their lives in a tight-lipped silence. New research from a group studying animal sounds at the University of Vienna suggests giraffes might not be so quiet after all: They spend their evenings humming.

For decades zookeepers reported occasional snorts as the only sounds their charges made. The conventional explanation was that the long necks of giraffes caused their taciturn nature. Giraffes do have a larynx (voice box), but perhaps they couldn’t produce sufficient airflow through their 13-foot long (4 meter) trachea to vibrate their vocal folds and make noises.

The researchers suspected the reason no one heard giraffe communication was because the sound frequency was too low for humans to hear. Elephants and other large animals use an ultra-low frequency “rumble” for long-distance communication; why not giraffes?

So they recorded giraffes at three zo

Houston Zoo forced to remove 'no guns' sign by city
At the behest of the City of Houston which was prompted by a prominent Texas gun rights group, the Houston Zoo has been forced to remove all "no guns" signage from its premises.
Attorney Edwin Walker with Texas Law Shield, a legal services firm for gun owners, sent a demand letter to the Houston Zoo and its corporate entity and the city's parks and recreation department on Sept. 3 asking that they take down all 30.06 (guns prohibited) signs at the zoo.
A 30.06 sign can be used by a business owner to prohibit a CHL holder from bringing a firearm into business. The signs refer to Texas Penal Code 30.06 which forbids CHL holders from bringing firearms into locales with 30.06 signs in plain sight at the entrance or a

PSA: I Worked While I Was Pregnant and This Is What Happened
Something happened that I need to warn all you lady zookeepers about, especially those of you who want kids.
It took me a while to realize the extent to which this occurred, and even longer to put two-and-two together. But my daughter was irrevocably altered largely due to the fact that I worked through the vast majority of my pregnancy. 

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to post this, because I feel it's critical that every female who incubates their own children know just what they're doing when they continue to work at a zoo or aquarium while pregnant.  But the delay had a lot to do with the Infant Red Zone (or herein referred to has IRZ).  You know what I'm talking about.  It's that period of time when your baby explodes into your life and is all like, "HELLO, I'D LIKE TO PLAY

Cheetah, tiger embryos cloned from frozen skin cells
Argentinean scientists have successfully produced embryos of endangered species such as Asiatic cheetah, tiger and Bengal cat using frozen skin cells, in order to preserve the planet's biodiversity.

"We are working on non-native species as a first step. Our main objective is to avoid the extinction of indigenous species, such as the jaguar," said Daniel Salamone, associate professor of agronomy at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

"The Buenos Aires zoo has a genetic  ..

Blackpool Zoo Owner For Sale In Arle Clearout
The owner of Blackpool Zoo is being put up for sale as one of London's biggest pre-crisis investment firms embarks on a multibillion pound clearout of its investments.

Sky News has learnt that Parques Reunidos, a Spanish-based leisure parks operator, is to be the subject of an auction this autumn engineered by Arle Capital Partners.

Arle, which was born from the remnants of Candover, once one of the UK's pre-eminent private equity groups, has hired bankers at Morgan Stanley to work on the sale.

Information about Parque Reunidos will be circulated to prospective bidders imminently, a source said.

In addition to Blackpool Zoo, the company owns Bournemouth Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Lakes in Cumbria.

Its earnings are largely derived from visitor attractions in Spain, although it also has a significant presence in the US, France, Italy and Argentina.

Media reports in February sugges

Selling SeaWorld Orlando Would Be Stupid
It's not just Blackfish-fed activists calling on SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS) to free the whales from its clutches. Citi analyst Jason Bazinet is suggesting -- in a note to clients -- that the theme-park operator should sell its most visited park.

SeaWorld Orlando has been a laggard in the otherwise booming tourist hotbed of Central Florida. Disney's (NYSE:DIS) industry-leading theme parks are growing modestly. Rival Universal is growing quickly. SeaWorld is struggling. Attendance at competing parks in Orlando has risen between 4% and 76% over the past five years, according to industry tracker Themed Entertainment Association. SeaWorld Orlando's turnstile clicks in that time have dipped from 5.8 million in 2009 to 4.683 million, off by 19% in that time.

It's going the wrong way, so Bazinet's modest proposal involves SeaWorld selling off the park. It owns the park's land -- unlike its original park's leased site in San Diego -- and that could net SeaWorld $500 million in after-tax value. Given the surge in popularity at Universal and Disney's expansion efforts that will play out in the coming years, it's easy to see how a juicy chunk of land right off I-4 between Disney and Universal could be tempting for developers if the buyers didn't want to stay in the theme-park

Baby Gorilla Died In Zoo, And Her Mother Just Can't Let Go
It is a heartrending scene.

Dian, a western lowland female gorilla at the Frankfurt Zoo in Germany, is devotedly carrying her newly born twin babies around in her enclosure.

However, one of the infants is dead.

Dian gave birth on September 15 without any complications. But immediately thereafter, one of the newborns began to rapidly decline — and by the morning of September 17, the infant had died, accor

David M. Rubenstein Pledges $4.5 Million to Fund National Zoo Panda Program Through 2020
The namesake of the National Zoo's giant panda habitat has pledged a second $4.5 million gift to the panda program, zoo officials announced Thursday.

The donation from David M. Rubenstein will fund the program through the end of 2020.

The news comes less than a month after twin panda cubs were born to the zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang. The smaller of the two cubs died four days after birth, but the surviving cub is healthy and growing quickly.

Zoo vets said earlier this week that the newborn now weighs close to two pounds. He has also been spotted

Really Big Grand Rapids Rodent May Be First Of Its Kind To Get Chemo
This may be the first time a Capybara will be treated with chemotherapy.
The large rodent named Jersey, who resembles a dramatically over-sized guinea pig, lives at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.
BluePearl Veterinary Partners oncologist Dr. Christine Swanson says Jersey, who is 11 years old and weighs about 100 pounds, recently had a cancerous tumor removed from her leg.
Swanson said chemotherapy beads will be implanted next.
“Chemotherapy is a pretty scary word if you’re used to it on the human side, but in veterinary medicine it’s more about quality of life,” she told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher.
“Particularly for Jersey here…these are going to be very slowly released.”
Swanson said this type of chemo is usually used for horses, but has been used to treat cats and dogs over the last five years. She the treatment probably won’t bother Jersey too much.
“We don’t expect her to have any side effects from

5 things we need to stop telling ourselves about zoos
We hear a lot of things to justify keeping animals in captivity. But are these justifications based on fact, or are they simply what zoos would have us believe? Here's 5 things we hear about zoos, and why we should think twice about them.

Vingroup begins animal conservation programme on Phu Quoc; safari next
VietNamNet Bridge – Property giant Vingroup announced plans to establish an animal conservation programme on Phu Quoc Island this month and start an animal safari two months later.
The group said Vinpearl Safari would help carry out research, educational activities and fundraising for wildlife conservation, enhance public awareness and develop nature tourism in Viet Nam.
The programme has started with research and conservation of some rare animal species and their natural habitats.
Next up is a safari park in Bai Dai (Long Beach) in Phu Quoc that will have a zoo and night safari with nine theme areas based on different regions in the world.
In phase 1, it plans to develop two theme parks -- African and Indian -- on an area of 180ha. Work is expected to begin in December.
It will involve 2,000 animals belonging to 130 species besides 400 plant species.
Le Khac Quyet, the director of the programme, said it would be of international standard and a precursor to many animal research and conservation efforts in Viet Nam.

Young elephant dies of herpes at Chester Zoo as virus claims its third victim in two years
A two-year old Asian elephant has died of herpes at Chester Zoo just days after falling ill.
Bala Hi Way, who was born at the zoo in January 2013, was taken sick over the weekend and died last night despite 'the very best efforts of all teams involved in her care', zookeepers said.
The exact cause of death will be determined by a post-mortem examination, but the zoo revealed the female calf had tested positive for elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).

Thailand's 'superstar' hippo turns 49
Dusit Zoo will throw a birthday party for its most famous resident, Mae Mali the hippopotamus, who turns 49 this month.

Zoo spokeswoman Paowanna Wongmaneewan said Friday that the facility expects about 1,000-plus well-wishers to show up on Saturday and Sunday to sing Happy Birthday to the hefty herbivore.

Her exact birthday was not recorded by the zoo, so it calculated that sometime in September would be a good time to celebrate her birth date.

''Mae Mali is the oldest creature at the zoo. Obviously, she's a superstar to the kids,'' she said.

Dusit Zoo received the river horse from Tilburg Zoo in the Netherlands in 1967 when she was only a year old. Since then the hippo has sired 14 calves, one of them which died youn

Taiwan, China to exchange sika deers for giant pandas
 A Taiwanese zoo said Sunday it has reached an agreement with a zoo in China to exchange a pair of Taiwan's Formosan sika deer for two Chinese pandas.

The Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung will give two of its endemic sika deers to the Chengdu Zoo in China's Sichuan Province, said Chuang Hsuan-chih, director of the Shoushan Zoo.

In return, the Chinese zoo will gift two of its pandas to the Shoushan Zoo, Chuang said.

The exchange is expected to enrich the diversity of species at the Shoushan Zoo, which has been seeking to do so but has been limited by its funding and space.

The zoo, which attracts ar

Govt to revive ‘wildlife gifting’
The government is doing its homework to revive the tradition of ‘gifting’ its wildlife to foreign countries as a way of improving diplomatic ties and help in wildlife conservation in the long run.
The amendment bill on National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (NWCA) 1973 that is put for discussion by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) has included a provision that would allow countries to receive wild animals from Nepal if the agreement benefits the conservation and management of wildlife in the country.
“If any country forwards its request for a wildlife from Nepal and abides by the set guidelines, and the donor country considers the request appropriate from the conservation and management perspective, then the state could make the wildlife available as per the request,” the clause 15( E) of the amended bill mentions.
A practice of ‘gifting’ wildlife including endangered rhinoceros was already in place during the royal regime and was stopped after Nepal became a federal democratic republic in 2007.  The then King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, now renamed as National Trust for Nature Conservation, patronised by monarchs had been involved in gifting rhi

National Zoological Park staff injured
A staff of National Zoological Park (Delhi Zoo) here was injured while trying to separate two elephants who clashed this morning.

The staff member Kulin Boro, care taker of elephants' in the zoo was looking after the three elephants who were allowed morning stroll as per schedule. When the two elephants started a fight while playing he tried to separate them.

"While doing so he fell down and received light injuries on his arms and knee. He was rushed to RML hospital where he was treated for his wounds and later discharged," said zoo official RA Khan.

"It is wrong to say that he was attacked by elephants because in that case he wo

Want to Census a Jungle? Sequence DNA From Blood-Sucking Leeches
When Thomas Gilbert found the Annamite striped rabbit, he wasn’t traipsing through the jungles of Vietnam where the exceedingly rare creature lives. He wasn’t inspecting a trap, or peering through binoculars. He wasn’t even flicking through photographs captured by a camera-trap. He was, instead, looking at the rabbit’s DNA.

Which he had pulled out of a leech.

There are some 700 species of leech and many of them suck the blood of mammals. In doing so, they achieve with ease what scientists find difficult: They sneak through thick, tropical rainforest and collect DNA samples from rare and elusive species. By collecting these mini-vampires in turn, and sequencing the DNA in their bodies, scientists can get a cheap and surprisingly comprehensive snapshot of a jungle’s fauna.

The idea behind this unorthodox census technique started with Mads Bertelsen, a vet from Copenhagen Zoo. Bertelsen was doing fieldwork in Malaysia when he saw a leech fastened to the side of a ta

First European jackal discovered in Denmark
DNA samples of an animal that was struck and killed by a vehicle in Jutland earlier this summer have confirmed that the jackal has now also arrived in Denmark.

The European jackal a carnivore that is just a bit smaller than a golden retriever. It is normally found in the Balkans and southern Europe but has also been registered in Austria and Germany.

When tests confirmed that the animal struck by a vehicle was a jackal, it marked the first recorded appearance of the species in Denmark.

According to geneticist Liselotte Wesley Andersen, who examined the jackal, it was a male with no testicles which could mean that it was held in captivity.

Retirement won't keep zoo director away
Now that he is retiring as the director of the North Carolina Zoo, David Jones is looking forward to spending more time tending his 2 acres of yard, leading some trips to Africa, doing a little public speaking and maybe even writing a book.
“I think what I’ll miss most is the sheer variety of tasks and dealing with so many things at any time,” said Jones, 71. He was director for more than two decades. “As zoo director, nothing was the same from one hour to the next.”
But Jones has no plans to leave zoo life completely behind. He will help the new director, Patricia Simmons, through the end of October and will continue to serve with the N.C. Zoo Society, helping with a large capital campaign.
During Jones’ tenure, the zoo’s landholdings have increased from about 1,400 to 2,200 acres, making it the largest zoo in the world in terms of land area. The number of visitors per year has grown steadily to 750,000, and the zoo has gained international reco


Celebrating a Year of Excellence Beyond Compliance®

James F. Gesualdi, P.C., Islip, Long Island, New York, whose practice is concentrated on animal welfare and wildlife conservation, will be celebrating a year since the release of his book, Excellence Beyond Compliance: Enhancing Animal Welfare Through the Constructive Use of the Animal Welfare Act, Maurice Bassett (2014).  (Named Finalist for the 2014 National Indie Excellence® Book Awards in the category of Animals/Pets.)  Gesualdi’s book, released September 30, 2014, challenges everyone to work together towards excellence in animal welfare by asking one simple question,
What can we do TODAY to improve the well-being of animals?

Gesualdi has been busy this past year sharing the Excellence Beyond Compliance® approach via presentations, programs/webinars, radio/interviews, articles and updates.  Excellence Beyond Compliance® is proud to be a Collaborating Partner of the San Diego Zoo Global Academy where   Gesualdi writes a monthly e-Newsletter column, “Getting Better All the Time” (on continuous improvement in animal welfare), available at  For more information on Gesualdi and his book go to  

10 things you might not know about zoos
1. Dr. Seuss' 1950 book "If I Ran the Zoo" featured such animals as "a Nerkle, a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!" This is the likely origin of the slang term "nerd."

The Case for Zoos: They Just Might Save the Endangered Pygmy Hippo
Most people have never heard of the pygmy hippo, much less seen one. Until 1844, even scientists did not recognize the existence of this species—a miniaturized, snubbier-nosed (and considerably cuter) 400-pound version of the 3,300-pound common hippo. But pygmy hippos are rapidly disappearing from their West African habitat—and the culprits are entirely familiar.

“Large areas of the original forest habitat, especially in Côte d’Ivoire, have been destroyed or degraded by commercial plantations

All eyes turn to Africa thanks, in part, to 15 little skeletons deep in a cave. Welcome, Homo naledi. But there is more to say about Africa’s prehistory and about the state of wildlife in Africa today. September’s stories at (NEWS/Botanical News) will bring you up to speed on Africa and more:
·         Why don’t all African savanna animal species eat grass? There’s plenty of it. Researchers have found that over time most groups have tried to eat grass. The experiment wasn’t always successful. Some species even went extinct.
·         After decades of watching Asian forests disappear to the palm oil industry, palm oil plantations have come (back) to Africa. Wildlife – especially primates  – again pays the price
·         Elsewhere in Africa logging has grown at unprecedented rates: in Ghana the rate of deforestation is six times the maximum sustainable rate. More than half of all understory birds have vanished.
·         If a parasitic plant’s seed germinates when suitable hosts aren’t around it will die. So how have these freeloaders managed to avoid that fatal mistake?
·         As if bees don’t have enough problems, in Europe an introduced Asian hornet kills them. One scientist believes that the solution lies with North American carnivorous pitcher plants (Sarracenia). It’s eat AND be eaten!

Too often zoos or aquariums planning major indoor exhibit buildings create architecture not planned with the plantings in mind. What is more avoidable than a rain forest exhibit with supplemental lighting? Better,  greener exhibits can be designed with the help of Daylighting Modeling, allowing designers to predict light levels throughout the building for every month of the year. I will be presenting this design tool during the 35th annual Association of Zoological Horticulture conference next month in San Francisco. Join me.

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors!
Follow on TwitterFacebook Or visit –  new stories every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

Use the Search feature to find the stories you need. Elephants and seed dispersal? Bees and native plants? African ecosystems? Just ask.


Many Animals Can Become Mentally Ill
We think of psychological disorders like anxiety and depression as uniquely human problems, but many other species could be suffering from them too

25 Things You Might Not Know About Rhinos
The word rhinoceros is a combination of two Greek words – rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).
There are five living species of rhinoceros – white, black, greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran. In addition, a number of other animals have rhinoceros as part of their names, including the rhinoceros auklet, rhinoceros beetle, rhinoceros chameleon, rhinoceros cockroach, rhinoceros fish, rhinoceros hornbill, rhinoceros iguana, rhinoceros rat snake, rhino shrimp, and rhinoceros viper. All of them have horn-like appendages on their noses.

Crowdsourcing could cut conservation costs for boring, uncharismatic, or ugly species.
On a tiny island north of Papua New Guinea lives a snail that dons an electric-green shell with a yellow stripe. In the 1930s, the world decided these shells would make some swell jewelry, so the people of Manus Island started collecting the gastropods to meet international demand. By the ’60s and ’70s, the shells had become so in vogue that they were sold in units of 500.

An Inconvenient Truth: Why Activists So Irrationally Defend Pseudoscience
Mark Simmons is, without a doubt, the most experienced trainer featured in the film “Blackfish.”

His 10 years at SeaWorld was the longest consecutive career with the SeaWorld orcas out of any of the former employees featured and his career with marine mammals has lasted nearly 30 years.

He was the only trainer who had any hands-on experience with the film’s orca of choice, Tilikum. He was the only person interviewed who made the journey with Tilikum from Sealand in Canada to SeaWorld Orlando. At the end of his SeaWorld career, he left to start his own consulting agency, the work of which involves improving the lives of cetaceans in zoological facilities across the world.

EU Zoos Directive -  Good Practices Document
The greatest efforts for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity need to focus on measures in the wild.
This is the primary focus of EU level action through the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EU Biodiversity strategy, the Regulation on Invasive Alien Species and EC wildlife trade regulations implementing CITES, all of which contribute to achieving objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity & other international agreements.


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Peter Dickinson
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