Monday, November 16, 2015

Zoo News 1st - 16th November 2015 (ZooNews 913)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 16th November 2015 
(ZooNews 913)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I have been a bit off the map recently so postings on Facebook have been a bit sparse. I didn't always have a WiFi connection and when I did the use of a Smartphone baffles me a lot. I daresay I will get there in the end, probably just as technology lumps something else on me to figure out. I had my laptop of course. Big, heavy and more than ten years old. Whereas I do understand it, it doesn't always understand how to do things. I know I have to get a new one but I can't rightly afford one right now.

The SEAZA conference in Singapore was both interesting and fun. A great opportunity to catch up with some people I have not seen for many years and to meet some I have known for years and yet never met. I don't often get away to conferences but have been to a few in a relatively short space of time. Lots to listen to, pegs to place into the right holes. What is very evident to me is that these organisations still have a long way to go. If I feel dissatisfied with the general situation in the zoo world then I am pretty sure I am not alone. "Slowly, slowly, catch a monkey" is not what needs doing, we really need to get our skates on or face the wrath of the animal activists. I don't want to see them getting any credit at all for zoos cleaning up their act. It is up to us to get our own house in order and we need to do it sharpish. It is no good turning a blind eye to what is bad in our zoos because of influence or power or because we don't want memberships to drop off. Action is needed for the animals under our care and for the reputations of the rest of us which are placed in the same boat as the worst facility. Tomorrow may be too late.

From Singapore I moved off to the Philippines. Not been back for six years and it was a sort of second home back then. In fact I do actually have a home there still. I don't have any brick and mortar abode anywhere else other than my rental apartment in Dubai. This was a holiday…I needed one. I had intended to visit a few more collections than I did but time was short and relaxing and pleasure came first. Below you will see a couple of extracts from my diary about two of the collections I did re-visit.

Could the zoo get worse? Well the short answer is yes! It is several
years since I last visited and it has gone downhill in a big way.

If there is anything I could fact the ONLY thing is
the conditions in which the single elephant 'Maali' is being kept.
This unfortunate animals quarters having been the frequent brunt of
criticism by animal rights groups for years ... And were partly
justified. What I personally know is that she is popular and loved by
the people of Manila and by the staff and volunteers who take care of
her. Her accommodation was been vastly improved and expanded now. She
has a pool and waterfall and big boomer balls to play with. However it
is she, the animal herself which is the real seal. She is in beautiful
condition and as someone who knows a little bit about elephants I
would say she is both happy and content. True, company MAY make her
happier but who knows? Nobody and especially  not the so called
elephant 'exspurts' out there.
If it were me I would redevelop exactly half of Manila zoo just for
her and bring in some companions. Give it a try.

The zoo is shit. It is bloody awful. The only other animals of any
interest were the two 'Hebra'. Zeedonks are two a penny but I don't
recall seeing a Hebra before. Magnificent looking animals too. I
recall from several years back seeing the parents of these animals
mixed together and wandered at the time. Parents now gone the progeny
remain but held separately. Valueless of course. Only of academic

The stinking open sewer still runs through the zoo. The boating lake
is still a dirty green dead swamp.

If more money was to have been spent on cage improvements than the
totally inadequate barriers (where they exist) one may have noted a
slight bettering. But no, it truly is a bloody awful zoo.

The poor poor Palm Civet. A bigger cage than before but the Palm Civet Gauge is applicable as it ever was as a gauge to a zoo.

I woke a fraction before Hera rang to see if I was still going to
Manila Ocean Park. I was but it was later than I expected. 
Therefore my visit shorter than planned.

The walk there was quite a bit shorter than I remembered. I wish I
could say the visit was a good one but it wasn't. It was impossibly
busy and mainly with around two million schoolkids. I had to fight my
way through to see anything. Also very very very noisy too....and the
music too loud.

The signage and educational graphics were on the whole very good but
the general veneer of the place was looking worse for wear. There was
a photo of Hera in the section on 'Ocean Park History'.

To me there are few things more depressing in an aquarium than anemone
fish that does not have an anemone.

What I found most annoying was Humboldt Penguins in Antarctica. They
were promoting the penguins big time. I thought the graphics showing
the Humboldts in the Antarctic wastes was a bit over the top.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 

Interesting Links

Plan to Export Chimps Is First Test of New Measures to Protect the Species

Nine injured by startled elephant at Chiang Mai Night Safari
A STARTLED elephant barrelled into a crowd of tourists at Chiang Mai Night Safari on Saturday, mowing down nine, who were offered lifetime passes and Bt30,000 as compensation.

The 23-year-old pachyderm named Lamduan had participated in the animal parade for the first time.

Four of the injured were in a serious condition and had to stay at the hospital. The other five were allowed to go home.

To Exchange or Not: Zoo's Tiger Dilemma
The Nandankanan Zoological Park, known for its stock of tigers, is in a spot of bother as it is being flooded with requests for the large cats in animal exchange programmes. With its tiger population already in a precarious state, the Zoo is pinning hopes on resumption of planned breeding of the carnivores.

With just 24 tigers in its possession, Nandankanan Zoo is currently undecided over an exchange programme with West Bengal which has sought two pairs of the large cats for one giraffe.

The West Bengal Government is setting up a tiger safari in its Siliguri Zoo for which it has asked for two pairs of tigers in exchange for a giraffe. This deal, if it goes ahead, will put pressure on the tiger stock of Nandankanan Zoo.

Currently, the Zoo has 16 normal coloured (Royal Bengal Tigers) and eight white tigers. While it cannot part with the white tigers, the population o

A leopard safari near Dehradun soon
Leopard safaris are set to begin in Uttarakhand for the very first time. The Chidiyapur range of Haridwar Forest Division, where five leopards are lodged - all of which were earlier injured or trapped in human-animal conflict - will be used as a spot where tourists will be taken for these safaris. Chidiyapur is just a two-hour drive from the state capital.

State forest minister Dinesh Aggarwal said, "We have already announced a tiger safari in Corbett Tiger Reserve. Now, the first leopard safari will also be launched in Chidiyapur. There are around five leopards trapped in different cages at Chidiyapur - these animals will be released into large enclosures so tourists can arrive to see them in jeeps. Needless to add, adequate security measures will be taken."

The leopards are all old and unable to hunt. They have been lodged at Chidiyapur after being trapped. Some of them had also killed and eaten humans.

The forest department has been hard-pressed for funds to take care of these leopards. The leopard safari idea, if successful, would help generate funds. The minister said officials are al

Vinpearl round pick of Phu Quoc Safari rare animals first
Park and Preserve Care Animals Wild model first sold in Vietnam and achieved regional level - Vinpearl Safari has welcomed nearly 200 rare animals, representing biogeographic regions on Vietnam world such as twisted antelope horns, Lemurs black white, tailed Lemurs cavity, Giraffe ...

Park Care and Conservation of Animals Vinpearl Safari populations super project Vinpearl Resort in Long Beach, Phu Quoc. This is a semi-wild zoo has an open area, in the form of first and only safari in Vietnam. Large-scale project, divided into several stages of development. In the first phase covers an area of up to 380ha, including 140 with more than 2,000 animals and 400 species of fish to native plants and importe

Tulsa Zoo's Tova the elephant dies Sunday morning after rapid decline in health
The Tulsa Zoo reports that one of the zoo's newest Asian elephants, Tova, has died.
 Zoo staff says they observed initial signs that Tova was sick on November 9th. The zoo says colleagues from the Center for Elephant Conservation aided experts to ensure all treatments were explored.

Thanks, Merci, Spasibo, Gracias, Tak....
Thanksgiving is around the corner.  For my non-American friends, you may or may not know that Thanksgiving is a holiday in which we choose to do several things in the month of November, such as:

1. Posting stuff on Facebook about what we're grateful for
2. Decorate too early for Christmas

Byculla zoo splurges Rs 106 crore on penguin enclosure
Despite apprehension and more than year-long opposition, the Jijamata Udyaan will get six Humboldt penguins, apart from a 5D theatre, exploration centre and ‘robotic’ zoo. All this at a cool cost of Rs 106 crore.
The penguins, native to coastal Chile and Peru, live in the cold-water currents named after explorer Alexander van Humboldt. The current population of this species is estimated between 3,300 and 12,000, and in 2010, it was granted protection under the US Endangered Species Act. Experts say that the Byculla zoo’s cost of maintenance towards these penguins is more than the cost of procuring them. The BMC has invited bids for all three projects. “We have invited tenders for two projects, one for construction of the penguin enclosure and another for enclosures of five other animals. Byculla zoo will be the first facility in India to have Humboldt penguins. The contract will involve maintenance of the penguins for the next five years. The other animals will be taken care of by our in-house vet. The penguin facility will be operational in four months,” said Dr Sanjay Tripathi, zoo director.

Saving Apes From Ebola: Harms, Benefits and Probabilities
Recently, in a New York Times Op-Ed, Dr. Peter Walsh made the case that curtailing biomedical research on chimpanzees may negatively impact the ability for conservationists to save that species in the wild. It's a compelling argument on the surface, pitting animal protection groups who have cried victory in helping eliminate the invasive use of chimpanzees for medical research, against those invested in shielding chimpanzees in Africa from a very real threat: the Ebola virus.

But is it that simple?

Recent regulatory changes by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have re-grouped captive and wild chimpanzees as both deserving of endangered status and have granted all members of that species a number of protections. While these protections have been in place for wild chimpanzees for some time, only recently were their relatives living here in the United Stat

Elephant Caravan in Laos sparks conservation debate
For centuries Laos has been known as the Land of a Million Elephants. Now there are fewer than 900 of the iconic creatures – and less than half of those are wild. If the population continues to decline at the current rate, elephants will be extinct in Laos within a few decades.

These statistics add an extra poignancy to the Elephant Caravan, a 45-day procession of elephants and their mahouts currently making its way across northern Laos. The caravan started in Pak Lay district on 27 October and will end, 391 miles later, in Luang Prabang on 9 December with 20 elephants parading through the streets. The parade is part of the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Luang Prabang’s listing as a Unesco world heritage site, but the primary purpose of the project is to raise awarenes

Council eyes harassment of zoo animals
Any fool knows that it’s just not cool to harass or bother animals. It’s especially uncool to do that to captive animals.

At the request of the Sequoia Park Zoo, the Eureka City Council will consider adding an ordinance to the city’s municipal code specifically aimed at protecting the zoo’s animals.

“The Zoo has recently experienced issues with individuals entering zoo exhibits by jumping over or around safety barriers,” City Attorney Cyndy Day Wilson wrote in a report to the council. “In order to safeguard all animals at the Zoo, staff is proposing that language be added to the EMC (Eureka Municipal Code) which prohibits anyone, with the exception of Zoo staff, from entering an animal enclosure without first obtaining Zoo staff approval.”

At the same time, the proposed ordinance will outlaw teasing, injuring or frightening the zoo animals.

“Such behavior, in staff’s opinion, causes unnecessary stress to the Zoo animals and can lead to injury or death,” according to the staff report. “It is also potentially hazardous to the visitor.”

Several attempts to contact Sequoia Park Zoo manager Gretchen Ziegler were unsuccessful Friday. However, Eureka Police Department Public Information Officer Brittany Powell could find no calls for assistance to the zoo in that regard in a review of recent call logs.

If adopted, the ordinance will make it unlawful to feed or toss anything in the animals’ enclosures; to climb or attempt to climb into the enclosu

New rhino horn DNA test deployed in Vietnam to aid enforcement against illegal wildlife trade

Heading for one of the worst years on record for rhino poaching, with 749 animals already slaughtered in South Africa alone for their horn, a team of wildlife forensic scientists from the United Kingdom and Australia have teamed up to train scientists in Vietnam in rapid rhino horn identification. The scientists were given unprecedented access to rhino horn seizures in the country by authorities in order to facilitate the DNA testing. 

The training, funded by the UK Government, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the Australian Museum, was particularly vital as the number of poached rhinos is now coming perilously close to outnumbering the birth rate of rhinos in the wild, a position that may ultimately lead to the decline and possible loss of these enigmatic species.

Dr Ross McEwing, from RZSS and TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network, and Dr Greta Frankham and Kyle Ewart, from the Australian Museum Research Institute’s Australian Centre Wildlife Genomics, spent a week in the wildlife genetics laboratory of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources in Hanoi. The rapid identification techniques taught allows seized rhino horn to be speedy tested in only 24 hours to confirm if it is real or fake and also determine the species of rhino being illegally traded.

Dr McEwing of RZSS and TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network explained: “One of the fundamental issues in Vietnam, a country synonymous with the illegal trade in rhino horn, is the requirement to identify true rhino horn from fake material in order to progress any criminal investigation, a process that can take many weeks due to limited capacity and which results in a very low rate of conviction.
“The new rapid DNA testing technique, developed by the Australian Centre Wildlife Genomics, allows this process to be undertaken quickly and inexpensively in under 24 hours. Ensuring Vietnam authorities have the capacity to carry out this new test will help enforcement officers monitor and prosecute those responsible for trading rhino horn.”
Kyle Ewart from the Australian Museum Research Institute’s Australian Centre Wildlife Genomics added:

“Three species of rhino are routinely traded in Vietnam – white, black and Indian rhinos – and identifying the species forms part of the investigation, helping enforcement agencies direct resources to target individuals and trade routes.

““We’re at a tipping point for rhino with the number of poached individuals coming precariously close to outnumbering the birth rate, a position that will ultimately lead to the decline and possible loss of these enigmatic species,” said Dr Rebecca Johnson, Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute and Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics.

Dr McEwing, who coordinated the training, said: “Deploying this new technique in Vietnam was only possible thanks to support from both the Australian Department of Environment and Vietnam CITES Management Authority. It shows just what can be achieved when organisations from different countries work collaboratively to tackle the international illegal wildlife trade. This international capacity-building project showcases the valuable scientific expertise and collection resources available at institutions like RZSS and the Australian Museum and legitimises our investments in the wildlife forensics field.”

Captain Paul Watson's Moral Compass Loses Its Way
"Actually oceanariums are in many ways are victims of their own success. They educated the public so well about dolphins, whales, and other marine life that a public that didn't care a fig about these animals [...] Unfortunately this compassion for whales and dolphins is not harnessed as a force against the killing industry, but is instead turned against the teacher. Paul Watson, 1995"

Many might be aware of the activities of the conservation organisation Sea Shepherd and its controversial founder Paul Watson. In recent years, Sea Shepherd seems to have lost its way and has drifted into the realms of animal-rights. Rather than just opposing the killing of whales and dolphins in whaling and drive fisheries, in such countries as Japan and the Faroe Isles, they have moved their sites to attacking the maintenance of whales and dolphins in captivity.

In a recent commentary on their website Paul Watson decries the death of a killer whale at the Marineland in Antibes, France. The whale called Valentin died some time after a serious flooding incident that seriously affected not only the marine park but also the surrounding area and involved the death of at least 19 people.

US rolls red carpet for 18 Swazi elephants
The 18 local elephants that will travel all the way to the United States of America will find comfort in zoos worth over E500 million.
The elephants which are currently with Big Game Parks will be exported from Swaziland as there is overpopulation which has stripped the already drought-ridden parks, depriving other species, like endangered rhinos of food.
The zoos are Dallas  Zoo in Texas, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska and Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. all these have applied for the importation of the18 elephants from the Big Game Parks.
The three zoos have invested a combined sum of about E500 million for the construction of elephant exhibits. As part of the deal, the zoos agreed to contribute E5 million ($450 000) to the park’s black rhino conservation efforts over the next five years.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently made public permit request so as to import the elephants and the agency may be poised to grant the request.
“The three zoos have invested a combined sum of E526 million ($39m) on average for the construction of elephant exhibits and they fully expect it to pay off, “according to Catherine Doyle, Director of Science, and Research and Advocacy with the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
"It's not a question of 'if' but a question of 'when' we will have young elephant calves born here. That’s going to skyrocket the attendance like nothing ever has here before," said Sedgwick County Zoo Director to the Wichita Eagle,
This is despite the fact that over 80 scientists, conservationists and professionals from around the world have already issued a statement opposing this plan.
PAWS’s Doyle said for the second time in a little over a decade, US zoos are colluding with Big Game Parks (BGP) to import wild elephants.
“BGP is again threatening to kill elephants if permits are not issued, claiming that an overabundance of elephants is causing damage to the environment and conflicting with selected ‘higher priority’ conservation objectives, particularly black rhinos. In truth, just two of the parks managed by BGP has elephants, where a total of 35 or fewer elephants are enclosed in small fenced areas, limiting their threat to landscape and other wildlife.
Only one of those two areas currently h

Wildlife: Committee formed to purchase new animals
Wildlife Department Director General Khalid Ayaz Khan has said that a five-member committee has been constituted to oversee the purchase of new animals for Lahore Zoo.

He was speaking at a special meeting to address the shortage of animals at the facility.

The director general said that the committee would be required to determine prices for the animal and bird species selected for purchase. The vetting process would be made comprehensive to ensure that only firms with good repute were selected for the purchase, he added.

The director general said that once the recommendations of the committee were available, a summary would be sent to the chief minister for approval. The animal and bird species to be purchased are: a female rhinoceros, a male hippopotamus, two female red deer, two female Asiatic wolves, two male and four female wallabies, two female sika deer, one male and two female black and white colobous monkey, two female vervet monkeys, one male and two female capuchin monkeys, two female otters, two female lamas, one pair guanaco, a pair of African chimpanzee, a pair of land tort

Real-life 'penguins of Madagascar' make their great escape from controversial zoo
The zoo has hit the headlines on a number of occasions - and now it seems even the penguins are trying to get out
A group of pesky penguins at a zoo have clearly been watching too much TV.

The birds were caught on camera as they channelled the escaping penguins from the 2005 Dreamworks movie Madagascar by making a break for freedom.

In the clip, their incriminating footprints can be seen all over the corridor and it doesn't take long for zoo staff to figure out what the cheeky animals were up to.

Realising their plan has been foiled, th

Dozens of animals suffocated in North Korea zoo, source says
 Exotic animals, including Persian leopards that North Korea received from Russia as a gift, are languishing at Pyongyang Central Zoo, according to a source on the country.

A breakdown in ventilation or air-conditioning facilities, most likely due to frequent power outages in North Korea, has contributed to the suffocation of some of the animals, in addition to poor zoo management, South Korean news network Channel A reported Wednesday.

Pyongyang Central Zoo was one of many North Korean institutions that had received special instructions from Kim Jong Un ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party.

But a source, speaking to South Korea media on the condition of anonymity, said that the "self-designed" ventilation facilities devised by North Korean engineers were not suitable for the purposes of animal husbandry, and new construction could not be completed on deadline. Dozens of animals also suffocated when air-conditioning recently stopped running for four hours, the source said.

Aquatic animals scheduled to perform on O

Zoo Boss Due In Court After Tiger Death
The owner of the South Lakes Safari Zoo is due in court charged with health and safety breaches following the death of a big cat keeper who died after being mauled by a tiger.

Barrow Borough Council is prosecuting the Dalton attraction and its owner, David Gill, following an investigation into the death on 24-year old Sarah McClay in May 2013.

54-year old Gill,

Critically endangered painted batagurs arrive at Chester Zoo
Four critically endangered Asian turtles have arrived at Chester Zoo - boosting survival hopes for the rare species.

The painted batagur turtles, aged between one and three years old, moved to Chester from Toronto Zoo in Canada as part of an international breeding programme aiming to maintain a thriving population of the turtles in zoos around the world.

Chester is the only zoo in the UK to care for the species and herpetological experts hope to create a safety-net in case the turtles become extinct in the wild.

Chester Zoo also supports vital conservation work in Sumatra, where one man named Joko Guntoro set up the Satucifa Foundation and made it his life’s mission to try and save the turtles.

Joko monitors the beaches and rivers where the animals live, collecting eggs and rearing the young to improve their chances of survival, before reintroducing them back into the wild and tracking their progress. The information being gathered is giving conservationists a better understanding of how the turtles live and their biology.

Curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates at Chester Zoo Dr Gerardo García said: “Painted batagurs are one of the world’s most endangered turtle species. They’re currently at an extreme risk of extinction,

Thailand returns 14 smuggled orangutans to Indonesia
Fourteen orangutans smuggled into Thailand illegally were sent back to Indonesia today, but the operation was not without incident – one of the powerful apes tore a wildlife officer's finger off when he tried to put them in cages.

Twelve of the orangutans were smuggled into Thailand as babies and rescued seven years ago by police and sent to a wildlife breeding centre in Ratchaburi, 80km west of Bangkok. Two of the great apes were born at the centre.

"The animals were still babies when we got them and they should have been sent back right away," Edwin Wiek, director of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand said. "Now it's too late for them to go back to the wild."

The World's Oldest Zoo Is a Modern Attraction With a Storied Past
The year: 1752. The place: Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of his majesty Franz Stephan I of Lorraine. Stephan was new to Vienna, having married an empress, and he wanted to bring his collection of exotic animals with him. So he built a menagerie using his private funds, filling it with exotic birds, monkeys, and other creatures. An octagonal pavilion sat at the center, surrounded by 13 animal enclosures and lushly painted with scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

At the time, collections of wild animals were common in royal courts throughout Europe. They were stocked with animals brought back from exploratory missions financed by ruling families and provided an opportunity to show off their acquisitions as the Enli

Diwali Puts Zoo Animals in Distress
Distressed by the sound of  crackers, the male white tiger at Thiruvananthapuram zoo, Shravan, has hurt himself. The young tiger now bears a bruise on his face, caused while pacing to and fro in the enclosure.

 Shravan is not the only animal affected by the noise. Malar, the female white tiger, has not been having food since Monday. Manikantan, another Bengal tiger, has spent the wee hours of Tuesday awake. The next morning he was found drowsy, in shock, confining himself to a corner of the cage, according to zoo officials.

 The zoo’s oldest tiger, Karishma, passed away on Tuesday. While postmortem report reveals that the tiger had tumour in its ovaries and various old age ailments, the sound of crackers has been proposed as a trigger for its death.

 The endless burst of fireworks has sent nearly every animal in a tizzy. Zoo officials say that all birds have been shrieking badly. Rhea is the worst affected. The birds of this species, being highly sensitive to sound, have been running amok inside their enclosures. Earlier, there have been instances of the bird hurting itself, while in panic.

 Noise pollution used to be an everyday affair at the zoo, as Nishagandhi auditorium, which has programmes all too often, used to play music loudly. Following the complaint of a concerned citizen, Kerala State Human Rights Commission had issued an order to curb noises. Ever since, the zoo has not had much problem from its neighbour.

 The crackers, however, are being burnt by residents in

Hamilton Zoo review won't cover big cats despite fatal tiger attack
Hamilton City Council will not review its zoo's keeping of large exotic animals as part of investigations into a fatal tiger attack.

The review of the zoo comes after a fatal tiger attack on curator Samantha Kudeweh on September 20.
Kudeweh was killed by one of the zoo's male Sumatran tigers, Oz, while carrying out routine duties inside the animal's enclosure.

The independent external review, worth an estimated $80,000, is one of five reviews into Hamilton Zoo,  Lance Vervoort, council's community general manager said.

The keeping of large exotic animals was crucial to a global breeding programme, Vervoort said.

Graduate defends ZSL London Zoo’s controversial job vacancy which looked for ‘unpaid intern with a Masters degree’
A graduate has spoken out in defence of the controversial ZSL London Zoo internship vacancy which was criticised for looking for a highly-qualified candidate to help run a global conservation project for six months - without any salary.

The graduate, known only as E, described how, having been a ZSL intern in the past, she felt it necessary to speak out ‘to counteract this article/media criticism’ and insisted how she did not feel like she had been exploited during her time with the zoo.

Originally brought to the attention of the careers advice site Graduate Fog on Monday by a ‘disheartened’ graduate, the zoo’s job ad - which has since been removed from the ZSL London Zoo job page - outlined how applicants should have an ‘undergraduate or Masters level degree’ and, beginning later this month, would only receive ‘up to £5 per volunteering day for lunch’.

As well this, the vacancy said reimbursement for travel costs ‘up to the maximum equivalent of

Zoo celebrates 25 years of ferret conservation
The Louisville Zoo is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its black-footed ferret conservation program, an effort that has produced more than 1,000 kits.

The program and the zoo's Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center date to 1990, with the construction of the facility. The first kits, or baby ferrets were born in 1991. In 2014, the ferret conservation center in Louisville saw the birth of its 1,000th kit.

The zoo is a participant in a program to re-establish the ferrets into their native Great Plains habitat. Since the local program began, the zoo has provided more than 700 ferrets for reintroduction into the native habitat.

Zoo officials said keeper Guy Graves, who has been with the program from the outset, has helped the program succeed.

Zoo officials said in a release that "Graves’ long-term involvement has allowed him to gain a keen insight into the habits and behaviors of the ferrets under his care, and with this knowledge he has made valuable contributions to the program. Other facilities often rely on expertise shared by Grav

Sea lion found beaten to death in Dortmund zoo
German police are looking for suspects after a sea lion named Holly was found beaten to death in her enclosure at Dortmund zoo.

Zoo director Frank Brandstätter told the DPA news agency on Monday that the 21-year-old sea lion, who had been a crowd favourite, was found by workers on Friday morning.

The other six sea lions in the enclosure were unharmed and Brandstätter said zookeepers initially thought Holly had died accidentally until they saw the severity of her injuries.

Police say an autopsy found the animal’s sku

Kano Zoo requires N40​ ​m​illio​n to restock animal​s
The management of Kano Zoological Garden, Audu Bako Zoo, says ​the garden requires N40 m​illio​n to enable it restock​ ​new species of animals.
The Director, Zoo services, Ali Yola​,​ disclosed this in Kano on Saturday.
He said, the management had already forwarded the request to the state government for consideration and approval.
He said restocking the zoo with new animals would attract more visitors to the zoo and generate more revenue for the state.
“Over the years we have been looking for an opportunity to restock the zoo with new animals.
“Some of the animals, at the zoo now have no partners; they are either males or females only.
He said acquiring additional animal species was necessary in order to meet international standard.
“We also need to have standard education centre. So the facilities at the centre need to be rehabilitated to meet the required standard,’’ he said.
He said as part of effort to generate more revenue, the agency had in 2012 introduced mobile zoo which enabled it to showcase its different species of animals to the public.
He said 50 per cent of the people who visit the zoo are secondary school students who come from different parts of the country.
He said the state government had recently given the management approval to rehabilitate some facilities and erect pavilion/tents for conferences to generate more revenue.
Mr. Yola disclosed that the zoo had donated and exchanged animals with University of Ibadan zoo, Karimi Sanda Park, Maiduguri, Jos Park and National Museum

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:
The well-known dependence of Giant Pandas on bamboo is a relatively coarse relationship compared with some of the amazingly intricate and subtle dependencies researchers are discovering.  November’s stories at (NEWS/Botanical News) highlight some new discoveries:

·         For orangutans any old tropical forest won’t do. Some locales produce more nutritious leaves, supporting a denser orangutan population. So conservationists must focus not just on any orangutan habitat, but on the best habitat.

·         Protozoan-infected monarch butterflies pass disease spores to their offspring. Sick monarchs seek host plants that will cure the caterpillars. How effective those plants are depends on the species of milkweed and on soil mycorrhizae. So not all milkweed plantings are equally helpful to monarchs.

·         Leaf-cutter ants farming fungi? Sure. But bees farming? A Brazilian stingless bee has been found to transport fungi to new nests where it grows and feeds their young.

·         Do herbivores threaten the plant communities they naturally feed on? Not necessarily. New research demonstrates that browsed plants may respond by producing more seeds with even greater viability. Bite me.

·         Conservation threats come in many forms. One of the rarest primates in the world is threatened by…. overzealous collecting of bonsai trees.

Now is the time to think about invasive species in the landscape. This video from Utah State University Extension service reveals the pernicious gnome infestation.

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors!

Follow on Twitter, Facebook Or visit –  new stories every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

'Tarzan' zoo intruder ordered to mental health facility
A man who claimed to be Tarzan when he broke into a monkey encampment at the Santa Ana Zoo has been ordered to a state mental hospital, his lawyer said.

John Rodenborn, 37, was ordered to a state mental hospital Thursday after he was found mentally unfit to help with his own defense, said attorney Jim Sweeney.

“If, when he’s competent to stand trial, he’ll be sent back to Orange County court, and the case will essentially start again,” Sweeney said.

Prosecutors filed charges against Rodenborn on Thursday in connection with the Aug. 4 Tarzan incident at the Santa Ana Zoo. He faces misdemeanor charges of possessing a controlled substance and entering an animal exhibit at a zoo without consent.

At the time, Rodenborn was shirtless and covered with mud, claiming to be Tarzan, and was found swinging from the trees. He was arrested and found to be in possession and under the influence of methamphetamine. Authorities described him as a transient.

He also was charged in August with stealing a cellphone at a Costa Mesa art gallery days after his arrest at the zoo. Security video showed him entering the business and

Giant panda Yang Guang has a ball of a time

Quolls return to mainland home after island breeding program
Endangered quolls that have been living it up in paradise off the Arnhem Land coast for the last dozen years have started returning home.

The quolls were sent to Astell and Pobassoo Islands to be an insurance population in 2003, amid fears for the animals with the arrival of cane toads in the Territory.

Quolls used to be very common according to Dion Wedd, curator at the Territory Wildlife Park.

"If you talk to anyone who's been in Darwin for more than 20 years, they'll tell you that they had quolls in their sheds... they would come and steal pizza out of your hand," Mr Wedd said.

Sixty-four quolls were sent to Astell and Pobassoo Islands off Arnhem Land in 2003.

Since then, their numbers have increased substantially.

"We put 45 on Astell in 2003, we put 19 on Pobassoo," Mr Wedd said.

He said at the last count, in October last year, there was 4,000-5,000 quolls on Astell Island and between 700 and 1,500 on Pobassoo Island.

Once the newly returned quolls are settled at the Territory Wildlife Park, they will undergo toad-aversion training.

Senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney, Jonathan Webb, said the quolls will be fed a small dead toad which has been coated with a nausea inducing chemical.

"(The) good thing about taste aversion is it onl

Cruel vandals break into a Queensland wildlife park and slaughter lizards and a turtle and feed them to the crocodiles
An investigation is under way after callous criminals broke into a Queensland wildlife park and killed two lizards and a turtle before attempting to feed them to crocodiles.
Operator of Kuranda Koala Gardens, Peter Freeman, told The Cairns Post that when staff arrived at work on Monday, they found a hole cut in the security fence.
Mr Freeman said two water dragons and a freshwater turtle from the zoo's outdoor wildlife enclosure had been killed with rocks.

Topeka Zoo director: 'Not much' is true in online petition seeking elephants' removal
Aging Topeka Zoo elephants Sunda and Tembo have made a remarkable transformation in recent years and are in “really good health,” zoo director Brendan Wiley told city council members Tuesday evening.

“We may have the best nonbreeding elephant program in North America — and if we’re not the best, we’re definitely right there at the top,” Wiley said.

He made reference to a petition posted at asking that Sunda and Tembo be removed to an elephant sanctuary. More than 150,500 people have signed the petition, which says the elephants — “after a lifetime of neglect” — should be able to spend the rest of their days happy and healthy. The petition is at

City council members voted in 2010 and again in 2012 to keep the zoo’s elephant program in place, and stipulated as part of the latter vote that the zoo work to improve that program. Both decisions came after council members receive

SeaWorld phasing out killer whale shows in San Diego
The Shamu show at Sea World has been at the center of controversy for years now. On Monday, the theme park announced it will be doing away with the show at the San Diego location.

Sea World plans to keep the whales but feature them in a more natural environment where they won't have to perform tricks. So is it enough to change the perception of Sea World with conversationists?

The show is currently called "One Ocean" and has been a fixture at the San Diego park for decades. The jumping, diving, and splashing will come to an end by 2017.

CEO Joe Manby says it's more in line with park-goer values.

"In 2017 we will launch an all new Orca experience, a natural setting, and a strong conservation message," said CEO Joel Manby.

Dr. Grey Stafford, the director of the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park, started his career at Sea World 25-years-ago. He says the 2013 movie Blackfish did a huge disservice to the park, inaccurately portraying SeaWorld's care and treatment of Orca's.

"It's misled not only the public but also state and federal regulators and so forth, to thinking that these animals don't receive great care when in fact they do," said Dr. Stafford.

SeaWorld has seen a steady decline in attendance in 2015; the park has been recently threatened by a proposed "Orca Act" that would force SeaWorld to end Orca captivity. Valley residents shared mixed reactions to the changes.

"It's really gonna change how people go, I mean that's what people go to see is Shamu, and you know sit in the splash area, what's the point of going now. I think they

Call for Belfast Zoo to close down - what do you think?
Figures today have prompted questions over the future of Northern Ireland's only zoo as it is losing £865,000 a year.

The Zoo's 55 acre site opened in 1934 and is currently home to more than 1,000 animals and 150 species.
Belfast City Council revealed that the running costs of the zoo are £2.7million per year and that it generates an income of £1.9million.

The current operating deficit is £865,000 - this equals almost £17,000 a week.

However UUP councillor Chris McGimpsey disputed the Council's figures stating that the losses were in fact much higher and that it was costing the ratepayer £40,000 per week.

Speaking on BBC Talkback he described the zoo as a "Victorian animal peep show".

He said: "I don't go very often because I always feel saddened once I leave.

"My difficulty with the zoo is not just that you lose interest, it's what you have up there is an Victorian animal peep show which has been on the Bellevue hill for over 100 years and we keep it going because we don't know

Wild chimpanzee observed caring for disabled infant in ‘first case of its kind’
Researchers have observed a chimpanzee looking after its ‘severely disabled’ daughter in Tanzania
For the first time in the wild scientists claim to have observed a female chimpanzee caring for an infant with severe disabilities.
A team of researchers from Japan’s Kyoto University studied a mother providing care for her daughter living in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania over a two-year period.
The infant, known as XT11, was born at the park in 2011 and displayed symptoms resembling Down's syndrome seen in other chimps in captivity.
She lived for 23 months and researchers doubt she would have stayed alive for so long without the help and care of her mother and sister.
Michio Nakamura, an associate professor at the university, told the Japan Times: "She had a fish look and kept her mouth half-open, so we assumed she had some kind of mental handicap."

Top Isle of Wight attraction Seaview Wildlife Encounter closes after 44 years
ONE of the Isle of Wight's best known attractions, Seaview Wildlife Encounter, has announced it is closing after 44 years in business.
The award-winning wildlife park made the announcement on Facebook today (Sunday).
In the statement, a spokesperson said: "An extremely difficult decision has been made to close the park.
"This is due to many internal and external factors — the seasonal nature of the business combined with intense legislation and regulation that we believe will only increase in the future.
"We hope that you will understand that it is time now for the family to bow out gently and to thank all of our wonderful visitors for their support over the years.
"A huge thanks to our amazing team — without you we could not have continued to have kept our beautiful park to the standard that it was today on our las

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About me
After more than 47 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and writes about these in his blog

Peter earns his living as an international independent zoo consultant, critic and writer. Currently working as Curator of Penguins in Ski Dubai. United Arab Emirates. He describes himself as an itinerant zoo keeper, a dreamer, a traveller, a people watcher, a lover, a thinker, a cosmopolitan, a writer, a hedonist, an explorer, a pantheist, a gastronome, sometime fool, a good friend to some and a pain in the butt to others.

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