Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Zoo News Digest 24th March 2016 (ZooNews 920)

Zoo News Digest 24th May 2016 
(ZooNews 920)

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

Firstly I must apologise for the formatting here. I have spent close on 16 hours trying to sort it out and failed. Some tiny bit of html code is wrong and I can't find it. I will spend a few more hours to sort for the future.

Do you remember the Zoo Keeper killed by the tiger back on Friday 15th April? No, I don't mean the sad accident involving Stacey Konwiser in Palm Beach Zoo. I mean the keeper who was killed in the private zoo in Al Salvador. We know nothing of how the incident happened other than the usual 'keeper error'. We don't know their name or even if they were male or female. That's sad, we need to know more because after all he or she was one of us.
Can you imagine if a keeper in the west was killed by a Walrus? The press would be full of it. I don't recall of anyone being killed by a Walrus ever. Here though we know that the Chinese keeper was called 'Duan'.  Duan was the Walrus keeper and must have been fully aware of both the temperament and capabilities of the animal and yet he dived into the pool to rescue a foolish visitor who also died. Regardless of pool or cage design or nationality these were zoo keepers. They need your to care and respect. I know I do.

Have you ever thought about the Zoo Keepers (or visitors) who were killed or seriously injured where where the story never ever got to the press? Probably most of you haven't but they do happen and probably more often than even I have thought about. In some countries zoo owners have powerful political friends, life is cheap and corruption is rife. They know who they are as they read this.

The story which disgusted me most this week was that about Bear Country USA harvesting Bear parts. I have a gut feeling that this story is a lot bigger. I know I have at least one subscriber who works/worked there...are they willing to share any information? I note they keep tigers as well. Has anybody looked into that side of things?

Time to get on board with the Digest again. It isn't as if I have been slacking. I have been busier than ever and there really isn't enough hours in the day to do all I want or need to do. I am at work all day and only get onto Zoo News Facebook early morning and evening as well as answering umpteen emails. On top of this I try and have a personal life as well (along with cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping). As I get older the personal life really starts to take more importance. Sometimes I think there should be two of me.

Between this and the last Digest I put out two news items about Phú Quốc Safari in Vietnam. That stirred up a right hornets nest of denials. It may be that you have been looking for more news. Well there hasn't been anything. It went dead quiet....It still is! Whereas I was aware of further extremely disturbing information I thought it best to leave it alone when I learned of computers being seized, interrogations and even arrests of Vietnamese journalists. Its a cruel old world out there. The one thing I do hope is that a much more sincere approach is being made to husbandry and management. Denial does not mean that what I described did not occur.

More recently I wrote two articles which I thought may upset some and true enough 

The Zoo Keepers Part in the Illegal Animal Trade


they did upset some but I got a lot more support than I expected. I did read all of the comments and emails...and they keep coming but I am unable to reply to most. I never expected to have agreement from all and of course I didn't. One thing that became very obvious in the comments are that most of those disagreed had missed the point by a mile or three.

I for one was delighted to see THIS PRESS STATEMENT issued by WAZA in relation to Taman Safari Indonesia Cisarua – Bogo. My problem is that it relates only to one of their collections and is only in connection with big cats. It makes no mention of Orangutans or other species

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 24,000 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 250,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ countries? That the subscriber list reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 

Interesting Links

Six pygmy hogs released at Barnadi WLS
It was a historic day in Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary on May 21 when six pygmy hogs (three males and three females) were formally released at the WLS after 20 long years.
Dr Gautam Narayan of the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme formally handed over the most threatened animal species in the world to R Mushahary, Secretary, Forest, BTC in the presence of Hiranya Kumar Sarma, Field Director, Manas National Park; Madhurjya Kumar Sarma, DFO, Dhansiri Forest Division, Udalguri; Dr Paragjyoti Das of PHCP; Craig Jones, Bex Bonea and Daniel Craven of Durrell Wildlife, Channel Islands, Jersey.

Pygmy hog is the world’s smallest and rarest animal species which can hardly be seen in the wild. Once pygmy hogs were common along the foothills of the Himalayas in India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Pygmy hog featured in the first IUCN /WWF (1984) list of the 12 most threatened animal species in the world. The population in Barnadi WLS was believed to have been lost by 1981 due to massive destruction of forest cover, burning and unauthorised human settlement etc. A small number was rediscovered in 1990. But no pygmy hog has been reported there since 1994.

IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) classified it as critically endangered in 1995. Organisations like Durrel Wildlife Conservation Trust of Jersey in Channel Islands, Assam Forest Department, Indian Government-initiated PHCP (Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme) took initiative

Sai Gon Safari Park project to be inspected due to long delay
The inspection, expected to be carried out today, will be led by HCM City’s Chief Inspector and officials from the municipal departments of Natural Resources and Environment, Finance and Judicial, as well as the Land Compensation Assessment Council.
The inspection was decided after a visit of the city’s Party Secretary Dinh La Thang to the district, which asked the government to inspect the zoning plan of industrial parks and other projects, including the Sai Gon Safari Park.
Thang and a group of National Assembly-nominated candidates met with Cu Chi District voters to talk about a plan to develop the district.
Voters raised a number of significant difficulties related to the delayed project.
Construction of the Safari project has been suspended for 12 years, which means land for 700 households in the district was on hold for the same period of time. The major problem for projects carried out at a snail pace is the land clearance issue. 
Thang has also moved the construction deadline for the project t

30 Wildlife Research Grants You Should Be Applying for This Summer
Wildlife scientists around the world are gearing up for the fast-approaching
summer field season and the chance to collect valuable data. Sound familiar?
Whether you’re prepping for the field or spending your summer in the lab,
Instrumentl’s got you covered when it comes to research funding.

Life inside tigers: exploring the tiger gut microbiome

30 Wildlife Research Grants You Should Be Applying for This Summer

Drunk man jumps into lion’s cage at Hyderabad zoo to ‘shake hand’, rescued unhurt -
A 35-year-old drunk man jumped into a lion enclosure at Nehru Zoological Park in
Hyderabad on Sunday reportedly “to shake hand with a lion” but was rescued unhurt
 by the alert animal keeper. Mukesh, a native of Sikar district in Rajasthan, crossed the
 barricade of the African lion enclosure despite warnings by the security staff, Nehru
 Zoological Park Curator Shivani Dogra said. “The lioness (Radhika) was inside the
enclosure but the person was rescued unhurt by its keeper R Papaiah,” the zoo
officials said, adding the big cat had moved close to Mukesh but Papaiah diverted
the lioness from him. “After preliminary enquiry it was found that Mukesh was in
an inebriated sta -

110 rhinos died in Indian zoos from 1965 to 2015: Study
 In an ongoing research titled 'Great Asian One Horned Rhinoceros dying in Indian
 Zoos' by a wildlife expert has revealed that 110 rhinos have died in Indian zoos during
 the period from 1965 to 2015. The research stated that out of these 110 rhinos, only
34 were born in zoos and the remaining were born in forest and lat

Man sneaks into zoo, gets attacked by bear
A North Dakota bear didn't take too kindly to a man who snuck into the zoo after

Police say 21-year-old David Shepard was hurt when, after scaling the fence at Minot's
 Roosevelt Park Zoo, he stuck his arm into the bear enclosure and was attacked, CBS
affiliate KXMB reported.

Police say Shepard and 23-year-old Cody Nelson Kage illegally entered

Zookeepers shoot man with tranquiliser while trying to save him from lions
Two lions shot dead and man gravely injured after getting into animals’ enclosure at
Santiago zoo, stripping naked and taunting them into attacking him

Tiger Temple wins case to keep 150 tigers…..watch video
The Tiger Temple in Thailand's Kan-chana-buri town has won a last minute reprieve to
 keep 150 tigers, after being threatened with closure last year. The news comes as a
shock to animal rights campaigners, who have complained for years that the tigers
were being exploited for profit.

Giant pandas may be nearing extinction because of messed up microbiomes
For giant pandas, there’s nothing like having friends in low places. The bears rely on
chummy relations with their gut microbes to extract nutrients from their vegetarian
diet, but an annual switch from noshing bamboo stalks to leaves can plunge the
 pandas' gut microbes into disarray. According to a study of panda poop, this switch
potentially causes one grizzly problem.

The authors of the study suggest that the microbial mayhem explains why the bears
occasionally poop out their intestinal mucosal linings amid that seasonal shift. The
slimy dumps likely expunge broken microbiomes, clearing the way for the bears to
forge fresh microbial alliances. Based on the numbers of gooey poops in captive bears,
 however, that yearly bowel reboot often doesn’t go well, leaving many pandas
suffering from chronic inflammation, intestinal ulcers, and unpleasant gastrointestinal
symptoms. And those gut troubles often coincide with mating season and pregnancies,
 the researchers report in Frontiers in Microbiology.

If the hypotheses hold up in further studies, the findings may help explain why pandas 
are notoriously bad breeders—it’s likely hard to get in the mood if you’re battling
stomach cramps, bloating, and mucus poops. Currently, there are only a couple
thousand giant pandas in the wild.

There have been hints in the past that pandas may suffer from some unusual
gastrointestinal problems. The gentle bears have the gut structure of carnivores
despite going vegetarian around 2 to 2.4 million years ago. Unlike other herbivores,
 the pa

Official: Bear Country harvested bear parts
Two members of the Casey family, which owns and operates Bear Country USA,
 pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to illegally selling bear gall bladders to buyers
in Spearfish and Alaska.

And a U.S. Fish & Wildlife official said the black bears those parts came from
didn't die of natural causes.

"They were being harvested. They were slaughtering them," said Bob Prieksat,
resident agent in charge for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Pierre. "They were
 definitely breeding bears to produce more bears, and that's something they controlled.

"It's kind of like running a puppy factory, but in this case, they're running a bear factory."

Kevin Casey, one of the defendants and also the corporate representative for Bear
Country USA, declined to comment on the allegation Tuesday. Co-defendant Brendan
 Casey said, "I will respond at the appropriate time."

Brothers Kevin and Brendan Casey each pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of
 illegally selling a total of 84.5 ounces of bear gall bladder in 2001. Bear gall bladders
 are used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of aliments such as delirium and

The federal charging document states that the two "should have known that said
wildlife was sold and purchased in violation of and in a manner unlawful under the
 laws and regulations of South Dakota and Alaska." For the charges to be felonies,
prosecutors would have to prove the defendants knew their actions were illegal.

The Bear Country USA corporation also pleaded guilty Tuesday to one misdemeanor
count of illegally buying and transporting two grizzly bears from Minnesota.

All of the charges against Bear Country USA and the Casey bro

Doniford Farm Park in Watchet up for sale for £1.5m

Chris Freind: How animal-rights extremists endanger animals
No travel guides or television specials can prepare one for the indescribable
wonderment of seeing the Grand Canyon. Its sheer immensity leaves visitors
breathless – nature at its most spectacular.

And many are equally impressed by something else commonly seen near the canyon:
Huge elk, often grazing mere feet from the road. Life slows to a standstill for those in
awe of one of North America’s most majestic animals.

How times have changed, because just over 100 years ago, there were no elk left in
Arizona. They had been slaughtered to near extinction.

Similarly, an incredibly humbling moment is coming face-to-face with the world’s
greatest leviathans: Whales. And millions do, being within arm’s length of humpbacks
and orcas through eco-tourism whale-watching trips. But this wasn’t always the case,
as unchecked hunting drove many away from the coasts, and left several species on
 the verge of extinction. Whil

105th White Fronted Bee-Eater Chick Born at San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed the 105th white fronted bee-eater bird born
at the park since the breeding program started in 1993, according to a media report.

Zoo Keepers performed a routine health check on the 22-day old hatchling this
It appeared to be in good health. The bird weighed 43 grams (about the same as a golf
 ball.) They also put an identification band on the bird’s leg.

The chick is just 22-days old and the 16th Bee-eater to hatch this season. Although
they are not listed as endangered species, it’s unusual to fin

You may or may not have heard that a Florida zoo has recently experienced a tragic
human loss. If you haven’t heard the details, I’m not filling you in. What I am going to
 tell you is that it was my personal loss as well as a loss for my husband, my friends,
 the zoo community, the animals in her care, animals in general, and you. She was not
 the first person to give
 her life to the animal care profession and, unfortunately, she will not be the last.
 Most  people do not understand what it actually means to be zoo keeper and why
they do it. The face they show to the public is one that smiles and tells you how
wonderful their animals are. You see
 them feeding animals (sometimes while holding a little dohicky that clicks), walking
something furry on a leash, and picking up poop. Although y

Real Stories...Real Keepers
Zookeeper Stories. 
The goal of the show is to tell the origin stories of animal care professionals, answer 
the question "How did you get to be a Zookeeper?"

Walrus drowns trainer and tourist at wildlife park
A 3,300-pound walrus killed two people in a Chinese wildlife park by “hugging” them
 tightly and drowning them, according to reports.

A male tourist from Liaoning in northeast China was visiting the Xixiajou Wildlife Park
in Shandong province when he lost his footing and tumbled into the walrus pool,
according to the Shanghai Daily, which did not provide a specific date of the incident.

The animal’s longtime trainer jumped in the water to try to save the flailing visitor —
but the massive pinniped wrapped its arms around both men and plunged the pair
deep underwater.

Zoo officials told local media that they initially thought the walrus was just
demonstrating playful behavior with its longtime trainer and

Uncovering the Russian Abuser of Infants
At the end of the 1800s, a woman in Barcelona took to kidnapping small children,
sometimes as newborns, raising them as her own and forcing them into prostitution as
 soon as they were able. When they became too old, or if they fell sick, she would kill
 them and sell ointments and remedies made with their body parts to the wealthy of

When the police discovered what she had done, she was called a serial killer.

Why should what Eduard Bykovsky and Darya Guryeva are doing with baby lions be
labelled any differently?

According to statements made by Bykovsky himself, the cubs are borrowed from zoos
to be brought up until they are 6 months old. He tells the public that the lions are
 going to be released in sanctuaries – there are no big cat sanctuaries in Russia. We
have asked questions
regarding details of these sanctuaries, but have been continuously ignored. In one
source Bykovsky claims to have received his first lion cub, Luma, from a national park
in Nalchik, Russia. In another source he says she is from the Nalchik Zoo. There are no
big cats in the Nalchik National Park, as it is a nature reserve for native species. There
are lions in the Nalchik zoo, however the conditions in the zoo are so appalling that it
 should be shut do

Albuquerque zoo first in the country to feed animals by using app
The Albuquerque zoo is now doing something no other zoo in the country is doing,
feeding the animals by remote control using an app.

You see the signs at the zoo that say “don’t feed the animals.” That’s a job for the

Now, zookeepers in Albuquerque are feeding them in a brand new way, with the touch
 of a smartphone.

The “feed pods” are filled with feed pellets, peanuts and hay cubes. The elephants go
crazy for the goodies, and that’s the point. It keeps them moving, going from feeder to 
feeder hoping for a reward.

“Elephants are made to forage on average about 15 hours a day,” says Rhonda Saiers,
Rio Grande Zoo Elephant Manager. “So anything we

Bird DNA shows inbreeding linked to shorter lifespan
Pieces of DNA that predict lifespan are shorter in birds that are inbred - according to
new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The findings, published today, mean that inbreeding could be linked to a shorter

The team also found effects that spanned generations - with the young of inbred
mothers also being negatively affected.

The DNA pieces in question, known as telomeres, are found in almost all animals -
including humans.

They act as protective caps at each end of a chromosome - providing protection from
damaging substances.

Lead author of the research Kat Bebbington, a PhD student in UEA's School of
Biological Sciences, said: "Telomeres are a bit like the hard plastic ends of a boot lace.
 Over time, they get broken down and become shorter because they absorb all the
damage experienced during life.

"The rate at which this happens reflects h

Gorillas documented having lesbian sex for the first time
Female gorillas have been documented engaging in lesbian sex for the first time.

The behaviour was observed by scientists during a research trip to the Rwandan
section of the Virunga mountain range in central Africa.

The wild mountain gorillas, observed by a team led by Dr Cyril Grueter of the
University of Western Australia, are believed to gain pleasure from having sex and
may do

Yangon Zoo’s elephant show ‘grotesque’, animal rights groups say
Outraged animal experts claim that such shows in this heat may injure or even kill the

A troupe of elephants, one as old as 62, are led through circus-style routines in front
of hundreds of onlookers each Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The Myanmar Times attended the show on May 14 and witnessed the animals visibly
struggling in soaring heat with no water in sight.

While the spectacle amused some attendees, others were clearly concerned. “This is
not good for these elephants. It’s too hot,” said one visitor.

The tricks included feats some animal rights wor




Dr. Teruaki Hayashi passed away suddenly on 28 April 2016. Hayashi-san is survived by his mother, two sons, daughter, and sister. He was 62 years old.

His career started at Adventure World Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan in 1978.  At the time of his death he was Executive Director of AWS Co. Ltd. and CEO of AWS Systems Co. Ltd.  and worked until his last day.

Hayashi-san was fascinated with animals all his life. His interest and involvement was wide and varied. During his career he worked with a wide spectrum of animals from penguins to pandas.

He was instrumental in developing the most successful panda breeding program outside of China.  Recently, he coordinated the captive breeding program for the endangered Iriomote Cat.

Hayashi-san was heavily involved in international zoological issues, and was unique in his ability to understand international strategies for conservation and promote those views in Japan. 

He will be missed by many. How many times have we had a problem we could not solve and said, “Let’s ask Hayashi-san.”?  I know he will still be there in spirit to help and guide us.

There will be a remembrance ceremony at XIV Shirahama on May 30, 2016 at 11:30-13:30



Dear Colleagues,
The April 2016 issue of ZOO’S PRINT Magazine (Vol. 31, No. 4) is online at <www.zoosprint.org> in a format that permits you to turn pages like a regular magazine.
If you wish to download the full magazine or certain articles click on <www.zoosprint.org/showMagazine.asp>


www.zoolex.org in March 2016

~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The Red Panda Exhibit at the Chile National Zoo was built by zoo staff 
for relatively low cost, considering that the indoor exhibit needs 
air-conditioning. Zoo staff was supported by an experienced zoo designer 
who was in charge of planning and construction supervision.

Here is the Spanish original:

We would like to thank Gustavo Collados for this presentation.



Thanks to Eduardo Díaz García we are able to offer the Spanish 
translation of the previously published presentation of the Red Panda 
Exhibit at Zoo Zlin in the Czech Republic:


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and



Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

This month is marked by the release of the annual State of the World's
Plants by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. The news is mixed. At a time
when university botany programs are being eliminated and university field
biology students cannot go into the field and identify what they are seeing,
human society appears to have made a decision that plant life is neither
important nor interesting. But is that really the case? May's stories at
http://www.zooplantman.com/ (NEWS/Botanical News)
examine several ways that plants have shaped this world for millions of

. Let us look at a tree. Just one tree. OK, the tallest tree, a
coast redwood. Each individual is home to more species than some entire
counties but you have to climb it to see.

. Not all the dinosaurs are gone. One group was fortuitously adapted
and survived because they could eat plant seeds while other dinosaurs

. If you want to marvel at plants' defense strategies, consider
extrafloral nectaries, those organs that exist outside of flowers simply to
"pay" ants to defend plants. So how did they arise?

. Why did cultures that farmed grains develop a level of political
organization and technological advancement not found in those that farmed
roots and tubers (think manioc)? Can the crop determine the civilization?

. The new global tally of plant species is out and it concludes that
over 390,000 species have been studied and named. In 2015 alone, over 2,000
new species were added. It also concludes that one-fifth of the world's
plant species are at risk of extinction. With each loss, how many animals,
invertebrates, and other organisms will disappear? Can our institutions
separate plant conservation from animal conservation?

To encourage thought and discussion about the new Global Plant Tally and its
implications, here is an excellent piece from the Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/10/plants-wild-plant-species-kew . "For plants are not cool. Killer whales are cool. Tigers
are cool. Peregrine falcons are cool. But the plants, the earlier life
forms, whose existences may be static but are in every way just as wondrous,
are ever more disregarded, and seen merely as part of the background of
life, like pavements or buildings or central heating."

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

http://www.plantworldnews.com - new stories every

day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

If you have anything to add then please email me at elvinhow@gmail.com
I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World

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 http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

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, one time zoo inspector, a dreamer, a traveler, 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.

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Contact email - elvinhow@gmail.com
Dubai: ++ 971 (0)50 4787 122

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address: (not where I live...currently in Dubai)
2 Highgate
North Wales
LL22 8NP

United Kingdom

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