Friday, June 10, 2016

Zoo News Digest 10th June 2016 (ZooNews 924)

Zoo News Digest 10th June 2016 
(ZooNews 924)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I was delighted to see that the ZSL has moved away from small plastic water bottles. I hope that the rest of the zoo world does as well. I would like to see the return of the drinking fountain, it makes a lot of sense. I grew up in Kuwait in the 50's and 60's…I don't think they had invented plastic way back then. I don't remember a plastic bag or a plastic bottle ever. The temperatures frequently exceeded 100F but nobody walked around with any sort of bottle in their hand. Things hadn't changed that much in the mid 70's when I was in Abu Dhabi. Again no plastic bottles and again really high temperatures… and most groceries in paper bags. We seem to be heading in the wrong direction. So thank you ZSL for showing the way UK side.

So Myrtle Beach Safari is being investigated yet again. A very clever place because it sets up a smoke screen of doing something good but for me it ticks all the boxes as being a bad zoo…in fact in many ways it is similar to the Tiger Temple.

A bit of a coincidence but both of the Tiger Keeper deaths have come to court settlement in the same week. Let's hope that it isn't dragged out any longer for their families sake. The tragedy is that we really still don't know exactly what happened in either of the tragic incidents.

The Thai authorities appear to be busy following up on other facilities holding tigers and other animals. Confiscations taking place. I wonder how far they can go. There are some very powerful people involved in these commercial ventures. I still maintain the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo is amongst the very worst but it will be a very difficult nut to crack. Rehoming so many tigers would be impossible.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 24,500 '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, 


Cumbria zoo pleads guilty over death of keeper mauled by tiger
A zoo has admitted health and safety breaches over the death of one of its keepers who was mauled by a Sumatran tiger.

Sarah McClay, 24, was pounced on in the keeper’s corridor of the tiger house at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on 24 May 2013.

The company, now known as South Lakes Safari Zoo, entered guilty pleas at Preston crown court to contravening the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to the day of the tragedy.

The company admitted that on or before 24 May 2013 it failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees, including McClay, arising out of and/or in connection with the keeping of big cats.

The stories you need to read, in one handy email
 Read more
It also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons not in its employment on that date were not exposed to risk to their health and safety.

The pleas were entered on Wednesday before a scheduled trial.

After the hearing, McClay’s boyfriend, David Shaw, said: “It’s a shame it took this long to come to what was a fairly obvious conclusion but I am pleased we do not have to go through a trial.”

McClay suffered “unsurvivable” multiple injuri

Guilty plea over fatal tiger attack
The Hamilton City Council has pleaded guilty over the death of one of its senior zoo staff members who was attacked and killed by a tiger.

Hamilton Zoo curator, Samantha Kudeweh, was tragically killed in the enclosure of Sumatran tiger Oz on September 20 last year.

In March, WorkSafe New Zealand announced it will be prosecuting the council for failing to take all practical steps to ensure the 43-year-old was not exposed to hazards arising ou

Myrtle Beach animal exhibit under federal investigation
Myrtle Beach Safari is involved in a federal investigation.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has conducted 23 inspections at the facility since April 2013. That’s more than three times the number of inspections at any other Horry County facility.
A USDA spokeswoman told WMBF News APHIS typically visits a facility once a year.
Businesses are visited more often if there is repeat noncompliance, or if complaints are filed.
The agency said it has 130 inspectors for about 10,000

In about two weeks, the lions and leopards at this zoo in Yemen may be out of food
Add lions and endangered Arabian leopards to the casualties of Yemen’s civil war. To see the impact, enter through the rusting gates of the zoo in this southwestern city, go past the handful of donkeys in a fenced compound and walk toward the cages.

Inside are the desperate-looking lions, leopards and other animals. Their pens are the size of walk-in-closets, with some cramped with two predators. One lion is taking medication because his skin peeled off from hunger.

“We have about two and half weeks of food for them,” said Victoria Johner y Cruz, a Geneva-based lawyer who is trying to help save the animals.

Wildlife phone apps cause chaos in Kruger Park
Mobile telephone apps that track wildlife sightings in South Africa's Kruger Park have caused a rise in road rage, roadkills and speeding as tourists rush to animal sightings, officials said Wednesday.

Utah's Hogle Zoo reopened after escaped leopard captured
2News reporter Chris Jones, who was visiting the zoo with his wife and young son when they were corralled into a bathroom around 9:30 a.m., said visitors were not permitted outside while zoo officials tracked the Amur leopard. School is out for summer and the zoo is in peak visiting season.

What's an Amur Leopard?

"It was relatively sparsely populated, but there were a good amount of people there," said Jones on the phone with 2News.

Zoo employees told Jones that that they cornered the leopard as of 10:15 a.m. Zoo employees expressed concern the animal could try to dart away after

Hogle Zoo explains how leopard escaped from her enclosure
Officials at Utah's Hogle Zoo have released new information about how they believe a leopard was able to escape from her enclosure Tuesday morning.

Zeya, a 60-pound, four-year-old Amur Leopard, is the smallest animal that has ever lived at the zoo's Asian Highlands exhibit. They said she apparently climbed up some mesh fencing that surrounds the enclosure and squeezed through the 6" by 6" mesh that makes up the roof of her enclosure.

A large quantity of Zeya's fur was found on the mesh, which led zoo officials to reach this conclusion about her escape.

Zeya was found sleeping on a beam about 15 feet in the air just outside the fence to her cage. Her escape prompted a lockdown at the zoo and guests were ushered into buildings as workers contained Zeya. An emergency response time shot her with a tranquilizer dart and she was taken to the zoo's hospital f

Underwater World Singapore to close Jun 26
Underwater World Singapore (UWS) and the Dolphin Lagoon are set to close on Jun 26 after 25 years of service, operator Haw Par announced on Monday (Jun 6).

Haw Par said that UWS had to vacate the facility and cease operations as the lease on the Sentosa attraction was expiring in less than two years. Its pink dolphins, fur seals and otters have been transferred to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China.

'Life in the Dark' zoo researcher works to protect San Antonio's water supply
In a little-seen section away from the crowds at the San Antonio Zoo, Dr. Dante Fenolio pops the lid on tanks containing the best indicators of San Antonio's drinking water supply's health.

Fenolio is the top conservationist and researcher at the zoo. It's a position that didn't exist up until a few years ago, when zoo officials decided to do more than just show animals to the public. They also wanted to protect the animals and their environment.

Learn MORE

Don’t Stay Away From Zoos - They Are a Vital Resource
The sad death of Harambe the Gorilla last week at Cincinnati Zoo has provoked international outrage and debate from experts, campaign groups and concerned members of the public alike.

Whether or not in this particular case the zoo’s actions in shooting Harambe were right or wrong, the incident has provided an opportunity for animal rights campaigners (and wider social media audiences) to point the finger of blame at zoos more widely. It has been labelled as yet another example of captivity taking an animal’s life and I even saw it suggested that families should stay away from any facilities that display animals.

As a researcher and lecturer in animal behaviour, interested in primate behaviour, welfare and conservation and focused on zoo animals, I believe that this kind of discourse is misleading for the public and could also be detrimental for the wider natural world.

Despite this odd incident, modern zoos (for exa

Shocking Find: Electric Eels Can Leap Out of Water to Attack
In an unusual discovery, electric eels leap from the water to attack predators with a high-voltage punch, a new study says.

In recent experiments, a scientist found that the South American fish go after large, moving, and partially submerged objects, pressing their chins against the target to discharge shocks. (Also see "The Electric Eel’s Superpower Just Got Even Cooler.")

The finding lends support to a centuries-old account of eel fishing by the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

In 1800, Humboldt observed native fishermen in Venezuela collecting electric eels by "fishing with horses." The men herded horses into a muddy pool containing electric eels, provoking the eels to repeatedly attack. After the eels had exhausted themselves—and caused a few horses to drown—the natives safely captured the five-foot-long (1.5-meter-long) fish.

This famous story has been repeated an

Thai Tiger Temple denies it abused, traded cats
The Buddhist temple accused of abusing dozens of tigers seized by wildlife authorities in Thailand has denied allegations that it mistreated or traded the animals on the black market.

At a press conference Thursday, a representative for the monks Siri Wangboonlert said,"this is a robbery. They have no right to confiscate the tigers."
The Tiger Temple was a popular attraction with visitors who paid an entrance fee to pet and pose for photos with the 137 cats, but it had faced substantial criticism over its alleged practices.
The temple's abbot Luang Ta Chan had been expected to speak at the press conference, but arrived on a gold cart and waved at reporters before leaving.
Temple officials said he had not been involved in the running of the sanctuary a

Tiger Temple abbot to tell his story
The abbot of the Tiger Temple will hold a briefing on Thursday as 2,000 wild animals remain at his temple in Kanchanaburi province after all 137 tigers were relocated, according to the temple's legal team. The...

Tiger Temple investigators find suspected slaughterhouse
Thai police have found what they believe is a slaughterhouse and tiger-holding facility used in a suspected animal trafficking network.

Acting on a tip, officers raided a home about 30 miles from the Tiger Temple, a popular tourist attraction that allows visitors to pose for photos with the tigers and take them for walks.

Investigators believe the house, in an isolated area and surrounded by tall fences, served as a holding facility and slaughterhouse, said police colonel Montri Pancharoen, deputy commander of the crime suppression division, which oversaw the raid.

“We believe it was used by the Tiger Temple to hold live tigers before slaughtering them for their skins, meat and bones to be exported outside the country, or sent to restaurants in Thailand that serve tiger meat to tour groups,” he said.

The house had a work area with a large c

The owner of a home where authorities suspect tigers linked to the now shuttered Tiger Temple were slaughtered went public Wednesday afternoon to deny the allegations.

Thawat Kajornchaikul, aka Sia Tong, appeared at 2:30pm on Wednesday at the residence he owns in Kanchanaburi city, where four tigers were found locked in cages. The 60-year-old man showed documents he said showed he was authorized to possess the four protected animals and has the property rights to his residence.

On Tuesday, the widening investigation into the so-called Tiger Temple’s links to international wildlife tracking brought authorities to Thawat’s home, where they suspect tigers were killed for their meat, pelts and other parts. Thawat told police he was given two big cats from an acquaintance over a decade ago, and said the two younger tigers were their offspring.

“Sia Tong said he got the tigers innocently w

Thai authorities say they have enough evidence against Tiger temple’s abbot
The authorities say that all the tiger farms in the country will be thoroughly investigated
Thai authorities said that they have enough evidence against the now infamous Tiger temple’s abbot and have asked investigators to trace the Buddhist monastery cum Tiger zoo’s earnings, reportedly over USD 30 lakh annually.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) Deputy director general Adisorn Noochdumrong said all the tiger farms in Thailand will be inspected for possible involvement in tiger trafficking.
The DNP insisted it has enough evidence against the abbot and is urging investigators to trace the temple’s earnings, estimated to be more than USD 30 lakh annually.

30 tiger zoos nationwide face checks
Kanchanaburi: Police are set to inspect 30 more tiger zoos nationwide as authorities expand their investigation into illicit wildlife trafficking following the raid on the Tiger Temple in the province. Police...

Over 100 wild animals ‘rescued’ from Hua Hin zoo
The authorities launched a major raid at Hua Hin Zoo in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district yesterday, while investigations into the Tiger Temple and the case of stolen rare tortoises continue.

More than 100 wild animals were seized Hua Hin Zoo by the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) inspection team, led by Phraya Sua Taskforce commander Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn. The team claims many of the animals in the zoo did not match the licences taken for them.

Chaiwat said the raid revealed that all the protected animals in the zoo had been acquired illegally.

"We inspected the zoo on May 28 and found a couple of suspicious mistakes on two of the elephant licences, so we looked further and found that all the licences for protected animals were fake," he said.

"According to the licences issued in 2003, all the animals should be over the age of 13, but it turned out that all the animals in question were below the age of 10. This is proof that the zoo forged the official documents and obtained the wild animals unlawfully," Chaiwat alleged.

"The zoo owner Prakorb Chamnankit is being sued over these accusations,."

The animals seized from the zoo yesterday include two elephants, two tigers, five Asian black bears, two Malayan sun bears, two deer, one fishing cat and one crocodile. All these animals will be sent to wildlife breeding centres across the country.

He went on to say that staff at this zoo had been arrested twice previously for acquiring protected animals—the first time in 2014 and the second just last month.

Meanwhile, in investigation related to the theft of endangered tortoises from Bang Phra water-bird breeding centre in Chon Buri, the centre's new chief Padet Laithong said police had found traces of the missing tortoises, but could not reveal details as it may affect the case.

"The police suspect officers in the breeding centre facilitated the tortoises' theft - or the thief may have acted as a tourist and stolen the tortoises when the officers were not looking," he said.

Padet added that the animals were stolen during the Songkran holidays when there were too few staff to guard the animals. Also, despite the low security, the centr

Conservation center relocates Sumatran tiger to Taman Safari Zoo
 The Bengkulu Natural Resources Conservation Center has reportedly relocated a Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) to the Taman Safari Zoo in Cisarua, Bogor, West Java, after it attacked rubber farmers in Seluma, Bengkulu.

Head of the Bengkulu conservation area Abu Bakar noted here on Monday that the the tiger was relocated to ensure the survival of the endangered species as it had begun preying on rubber farmers in Seluma region.

"This decision was taken after a lengthy consideration process. Everything is being done to ensure the tiger's survival," Abu remarked.

The male Sumatran tiger was also relocated, so it could receive medical treatment from the Taman Safari medical team.

Giring, the relocated tiger, was diagnosed with a blood parasite disease that required speci

Meet Dublin Zoo's newest residents, the Orangutans... and take a trip around their new home
The Orangutan Forest consists for huge life-like trees built with hidden mechanisms which encourage the four resident orangutans to climb up to 12 metres high to the tree tops to get their daily food.
Many of the impressive trees are on a new large island constructed in the lake.

Sibu (35) and his mate Leonie (35) delighted crowds at the zoo today when they shimmied across ropes high above the footpaths to reach their new island playground.
“This wonderful new habitat will add complexity to their lives and stimulate their natural behaviours,” said zoo director Leo Oosterweghel.

“Every detail of Orangutan Forest has been co

ZSL London Zoo ditches plastic water bottles
With estimates suggesting that by 2025 there will be a tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in our oceans, international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) will be announced today as a lead partner in #OneLess, an ambitious new campaign that aims to make London the first major global capital city to completely eliminate single-use plastic water bottles.

With ZSL London Zoo visitors alone gulping back some 155,000 plastic bottles of water in 2015, ZSL has made the switch to more ocean-friendly packaging options, with a new range of refillable plastic bottles available alongside fully-recyclable paperboard drink cartons.

An art installation in the Zoo’s Aquarium paints a

Rare Madagascan tortoises missing from breeding station
Rare Madagascan tortoises seized from illegal wildlife traders and worth millions of baht on the black market are believed to have been stolen from a bird breeding station in Si Racha district, Chon Buri province,

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has set up a committee to investigate the disappearance of  the 78 missing tortoises, Thairath Online reported.

Adisorn Noochdumrong, deputy director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said the endangered tortoises were being kept at Bang Phra Water Bird Breeding Station in May.  He had lodged a complaint with Si Racha police.

There were six Astrochelys yniphora and 72 Astrochelys radiata tortoises, both species endemic to Madagascar.

Yniphora is the rarest species of tortoise on earth.  One of the six missing was about 10 years old, about 12 inches long, and worth 1 to 2 million.  Each of the other five was three to four years old, six inches long, and worth about 200,000 baht.

Radiata is a radiated tortoise, considered to be one of the world's most beautiful tortoises and at high risk of extinction. They bring 3,000 - 10,000 baht each on the black market.

The missing tortoises are worth about 3 million baht in total.

Mr Adisorn said he had reported the suspected theft to Thanya Netithammakul, director-general of the de

When Dublin did a roaring trade in lions
The Royal Zoological Society of Ireland bred lions from the 1850s, principally for zoos and circuses abroad
What links the British secret service, an Irish red setter and Dublin Zoo? The answer: an international trade in lions.
The image adorning the annual report of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland for 1899 is of an Irish red setter. She looks up at the photographer as she nurses the zoo’s three new lion cubs. The cubs had been rejected by their mother and had made use of a goat (tied down for the purpose). The red setter proved a good surrogate and two of the cubs survived.
The society had gone to extra lengths to save the cubs because it feared they might be the last of the Dublin-bred strain of lions it had begun breeding in the 1850s. The loss would also have been financial: Dublin lion cubs were principally an export product, sold to zoos, circuses and travelling menageries.
As zoological gardens expanded in size and increased in number during the 19th century, lions were in high demand. Lion tamers such as the famous Van Amburgh filled theatres across the world. In Dublin in 1832, Lady Morgan recorded her delight at a lion show in which the lion and tamer had played “like a great Newfoundland dog romping with a child”.
The underlying threat of potential disaster was the main attraction, and Morgan remarked that the tamer was destine

Shedd Installs Largest Lithium-Ion Battery of Any US Aquarium or Zoo
The Shedd Aquarium has added a new source of power as part of its green initiative – and it isn’t coming from the institution's electric eels.

The aquarium installed a one-megawatt lithium battery weighing 30 tons on May 26. It’s the largest lithium-ion battery installed in any aquarium or zoo in the U.S.

"It's taken us about two and a half to three years to fully realize and install it," said Bob Wengel, vice president of facilities at the Shedd. "Because of the infrastructure we're putting in, we feel right now we're in a pretty good spot to reach our goal."

Specifically, that goal is to cut the aquarium’s energy use in half by 2020. It's part of Shedd's Master Energy Roadmap plan, a green initiative started in 2012. In addition to the installation of the giant battery, the plan calls for replacing 75 percent of the aquarium

Chimpanzee Update
I recently returned from the United States where I participated in a court hearing about the chimpanzee export from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center to the Wingham Wildlife Park (WWP). This post focuses on that hearing and next steps, inaccuracies some are saying and reporting about the chimpanzee donation and our park, and more details about our proposed collaboration with the Population & Sustainability Network (PSN) to benefit chimpanzees in the wild.

New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

If you have anything to add then please email me at
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

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 -
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

No comments:

Post a Comment