Sunday, July 10, 2016

Zoo News Digest 10th July 2016 (ZooNews 929)

Zoo News Digest 10th July 2016 
(ZooNews 929)



Peter Dickinson

elvinhow@gmail.com

Dear Colleague,

South Lakes Safari Zoo figured highly in the news this past week and I have watched with interest. Now it is all over….or is it? I very much doubt it. I was sent a letter to publish on behalf of staff which I did. You can read it below 'Statement by staff at SAFARI ZOO'. It makes an interesting read. On publishing this I received requests for interviews. As always I turned these down. I don't do interviews of any kind. Next there was the appearance of this statement on Facebook "the police have been called in by south lakes management regarding this statement as the zoo management say they did not send it and there now appears to be a live complaint in progress and the press have been told not to print or publish any comments or stories until this has been dealt with. The press have had to submit all postings and emails regarding their current articles about the zoo." So is it all over? I don't think so. 

Now we have an escaped Lynx tickling the attention of the press. I would love to hear exactly how it got out. Chewing through wood and digging a hole does not sound like any Lynx I have worked with but then animal behaviour still surprises me. I do hope they catch the poor beast soon. Although not likely to be dangerous unless cornered it is nonetheless on the UK list of Dangerous Wild Animals. Could get tricky. The Lynx is getting a lot more attention than the Lions which escaped in Germany.

The proposed breeding ban on Tigers in Thai Zoos I find to be tremendously good news. In fact it is huge. This is going to cut two of the main sources of income for the likes of Sri Racha Tiger Zoo. Cub posing at the start and selling the carcasses out the back door at the other. It is going to be terribly difficult to get the ban enforced. There are some very wealthy corrupt people involved.



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Cubs Cubs Everywhere, And With Them Oh The Funds We’ll Snare
 There have been some exciting things going on over at Black Jaguar White Tiger. Exciting, that is, if you’re a BJWT fan/follower, or, as I’ve come to refer to them, an “Eddieite”.

Eddieite
Ed-ee-ite
One utterly devoted to the preachings of Eduardo Serio; incapable of seeing the fact that BJWT has contributed nothing to the conservation of big cats but motherless cubs, a plethora of hand reared animals, and numerous videos of its founder and his “special guests” playing with his own big cats. Eddieites react violently to any question posed against their adored leader, even in the face of scientific facts, and will often degenerate into sputtering curses and antiquated invocations of plagues, and poxes on naysayers

South Lakes Safari zoo could close after inspectors find a range of failings
South Lakes Safari zoo might have to close its doors to the public after inspectors raised a number of concerns.

Founder David Gill submitted an application to re-new the licence in January this year.

Inspectors have recommended a block on the reissuing the licence after a problems with the management structure and the keeping of some creatures were found.

Inspections

A special inspection was carried out on May 23, 24 and 25 and had to be called because of recommendations made during November's inspection which pulled the management structure into disrepute.

Conditions

Barrow Borough Council's adviser and DEFRA appointed inspector, Matthew Brash, said a breach of condition 39 was grounds to deny the licence application- a decision which was 'not taken lightly'.

Condition 39 states a 'robust' management system must be in place.

Inspectors had initially commended Mr Gill for his decision to step down but at the last licensing committee hearing in February and March, 2016 it was felt he was overriding decisions and of 'deep concern' to inspectors.

The zoo was granted time to make changes to their staffing structure before May's inspection.

The problems

Reports from the inspection revealed a significantly high mortality rate for its mammals, birds and reptiles.

From January to December 2015, 146 animals d








LIVE UPDATES: Council officers recommend zoo licence renewal is refused
South Lakes Safari Zoo might have to close its doors to the public after inspectors raised a number of concerns.

Founder David Gill submitted an application to re-new the licence in January this year.

Inspectors have recommended a block on the reissuing the licence after a problems with the management structure and the keeping of some creatures were found.
Key quotes from the inspection report: "It should not be lost on the committee that the failure to meet any condition is a criminal offence... and it is the council who have chosen to try and work with the zoo at each and every stage".

"The management fail to take any responsibility for any failings at the zoo, choosing instead to single out employees upon whom they lay blame."

"The financial stability of the zoo is concerning."

4.25pm The meeting has drawn to a close for today. The councillors took a firm line of questioning to the zoo staff, but it is thought there are many more questions to be answered.

Concerns still remain over the confusion within the management structure of the zoo, and who will implement the proposed changes the zoo needs to make.

There is confusion over what role David Gill will do to ensure the zoo meets the requirements needed for the zoo to be granted a new licence.

Karen Brewer said that the management was "in a predicament" because they are in the process of removing David Gill from the management of the zoo, however the current licence for the zoo is still in his name.

Councillors are seeking assurances from the new zoo management that their management is "robust" in line with the government's standards on zoo practice.

The Chairman wanted assurances of the steps taken to make sure Mr Gill had no further involvement in the zoo, he said "an owner would not let a business go in a direction he did not want it to go."

Miss Brewer's response was that: "I think David Gill knows he doesn't have a choice." "It's his business, his house, his money, and if you don't grant a licence and we can't move forwards





Zoo faces closure
A zoo might have to close to the public after inspectors raised a number of concerns.

Founder of the South Lakes Safari Zoo, David Gill, submitted an application to renew the licence in January this year.

But after uncovering failings within the much loved attraction, inspectors have recommended a block on the reissuing the licence.

A special inspection was carried out on May 23, 24 and 25 and had to be called because of recommendations made during November's inspection which pulled the management structure into disrepute.

The Council's adviser and DEFRA appointed inspector, Mr Brash said a breach of condition 39 was grounds to deny the licence application- a decision which was 'not taken lightly'.

Condition 39 states a 'robust' management system must be in place.

Inspectors had initially commended Mr Gill for his decision to step down but at the last Licensing Committee Hearing in February and March, 2016 it was felt he was overriding decisions and of 'deep concern' to inspectors.

The zoo were granted time to make changes to their staffing structure before May's inspection.

Formerly known as South Lakes Wild Animal Park, the attraction opened 22-years-ago and was spread out over 12 acres of land attracting around 200 visitors per day.

Currently, the site occupies nearly 50 acres of land and has more than doubled the number of animals it houses to over 1000.

Bringing around £3 million a year, it was revealed the safari park has a significantly high mortality rate for its mammals, birds and reptiles.

From January to December 2015, 146 animals died and and during the first four months of 2016 a further 61 creatures died.

The zoo's own records highlighted 19 of these deaths were preventable.

Findings also discovered that many creatures but monkeys especially wer






Shock twists during day two of Dalton zoo licence renewal hearing
WELCOME to our live coverage of the Barrow Borough Council licensing committee meeting to hear an application to renew Dalton zoo's licence.

South Lakes Safari Zoo applied to renew their licence in January 2016 but Barrow Borough Council have been forced to consider whether or not the attraction can be allowed to stay open after concerns relating to its owner, David Gill.

LIVE UPDATES FROM DAY TWO

3.30 Discussions and debates are set to continue throughout the afternoon with decisions finally being made tomorrow.
2.00 Members are deliberating and making decisions over whether certain licence conditions can be removed.

These conditions relate to health and safety of walkways, design features and future designs of the baboon housing,and public feeding.

12.30pm Meeting hears how inspectors found the room containing the gun cupboard was left wide open despite protocol saying it should be locked with a key code. The inspection was may 2016.

Officers also recommend closure of walkways over health and safety concerns of existing walk ways.
The hearing has now broken for lunch.

12.10pm A direction order has been placed on zoo's veterinary department but the zoo is appealing this order.

The hearing is scheduled to take place on July 14 at Furness Magistrates' Court.

12 noon The hearing is highlighting all the areas that need improving on as they go through licensing conditions and compliance report.

10.40am In another shock twist, the lawyer speaking on behalf of the zoo tells the committee she is not representing David Gill and so will not be making any submissions on his behalf. Mr Gill is therefore unrepresented and the council committee say this should have been made clear yesterday.

10.35am The committee says the application to transfer the licence out of David Gill's name was sent on June 16. The transfer of the name will be dealt with at a future council meeting to be held on July 21.

10.30am The committee has refused to allow the zoo's management to add a licence name transfer request to the meeting's agenda.

9.45am The licensing committee has adjourned the meeting to discuss the zoo's request.

9.20am In a shock twist, the zoo's management announces they are not here to renew David Gill's licence and instead want to transfer the licence from his name into theirs.

During day one of the hearing yesterday, Council






British zoo where keeper was mauled to death could close after deaths of hundreds of animals
Inspectors found an alarming death toll among at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria
The zoo where a keeper was mauled to death by a tiger is facing closure after the deaths of hundreds of animals there.

Inspectors found an alarming death toll among at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria.

From January to December 2015, 146 animals died, some from hypothermia and emaciation.

During the first four months of this year, another 61 creatures were lost, according to a council report.

The zoo, where Sarah McClay, 24, was attacked and killed by a Sumatran tiger in May 2013, keeps records which highlighted 19 of the de





Statement by staff at SAFARI ZOO
It is of concern to the staff and specifically those involved in the Keeping of Big Cats at the zoo that the clarity of detail regarding the actual situation that occurred on 24th May 2013 and the subsequent Court proceedings are not being presented fairly or with the correct facts in relation to the actual events leading up to the tragic death of Sarah McClay. If the Zoo world as a whole is to learn anything from this incident the true facts as presented to a Jury at the Inquest need to be reiterated and reminded to those concerned and the visiting public. We shall  not learn if the truth is hidden or avoided.







Chimpanzees watch new 'Tarzan' movie at Myrtle Beach movie theater
Two chimpanzees from the Myrtle Beach Safari headed to the Grand 14 theater at the Market Common to catch a movie featuring their jungle brethren: "The Legend of Tarzan."
Vali and Sugriva hit the concession stand for some popcorn and juice before heading into the theater to watch the movie starring Alexander Skarsgård, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.

The chimps gave the movie “two opposable thumbs up,” according to the video.

The Myrtle Beach Safari is also known as T.I.G.E.R.S., or The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species. It exists as the Tigers Preservation Station at Barefoot Landing, a free wildlife exhibit, and as a 50-acre preserve in Myrtle Beach, which is home to over 60 big cats and other animals.

“Vali and Sugriva help education guests about the importance of sa





Lynx wild cat in Dartmoor Zoo escape alert
Police have launched an air and ground search for a lynx wild cat which has escaped from a zoo.
Officers have warned people not to approach the animal which escaped from Dartmoor Zoo in Devon by digging out of its enclosure.
Children at one school have have been warned to stay inside after police said the Carpathian Lynx could be dangerous if cornered.
It is the size of a large domestic cat and grey and silve





 Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

Science appears as if it's been reinvented in the past few decades. Using
new technologies, researchers are exploring ever deeper into nature:
discovering ever more subtle interactions and proving theories once only
hinted at. July's stories at http://www.zooplantman.com/ (NEWS/Botanical News) focus on new science and
revelations about how plants function (or could function):

. It took a special wind tunnel, gas-chromatographs, and the breath
of a moth but scientists have shown Darwin was right: pollinators have a
perfect floral match.

. In another development, it took a laser scanner to prove Darwin
correct that trees sleep.

. Using semi-conductive polymers, scientists have created both
digital and analog circuits within roses. Some Valentine's Day soon your
rose will sing to you.

. Strange but true: it took a lot of math, but biologists have shown
for the first and only time that plants use Batesian mimicry to fool
herbivores.

. How did human gluttony and greed completely decimate the most
populous bird on earth? Or maybe there was more to the abundance and crash
of Passenger Pigeons than just bullets. With genome sequencing and
ecological climate modeling a century-old mystery is solved. (Hint: look to
the oaks.)

Taking the scientific study of nature even further, the International Space
Station may become a new tool for tracking animals

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.




Good bye, Tiger Temple: Govt takes back illegal land
Reform land once given to poor farmers (illegally bought by others) take back with 931 rai at Tiger Temple to start. Farmer cooperatives to receive land.

LAND REFORM & ILLEGALLY ACQUIRED LAND

Good bye, Tiger Temple: Govt takes back illegal land

Tiger Temple, first target for land reclamation

Agricultural reform officials will start reclaiming illegally occupied land in the province of Kanchanaburi on Friday.

They will start with 931 rai owned by the notorious Tiger Temple.

Structures on that 931 rai of land include:

1. The tiger- shaped office of the abbot.

2. A 400-million-baht pagoda still u





Mexican zoo shocked after beloved gorilla Bantu dies
Mexico City's zoo was in shock on Thursday after its beloved male gorilla died as veterinarians prepared to transport him to another city to mate with two females.

Bantu, who was 24, died of cardiorespiratory arrest late on Wednesday after he was sedated and efforts to reanimate him failed, the city's environment department said in a statement, citing a preliminary autopsy.

The gorilla, who would have turned 25 on September 20, was one of the main attractions of the capital's vast Chapultepec zoo.

"This incident has caused great consternation among zoo personnel who cared for him for nearly 25 years," the statement said, adding that international veterinary protocols had be





Mumbai gets ready to host penguins
Two years after proposal was approved, eight Humboldt penguins to reach Mumbai in 15 days.
Almost two years after a proposal for bringing penguins to Byculla zoo was approved, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now putting finishing touches on an enclosure for the maintenance of eight Humboldt penguins that will arrive from Seoul in South Korea in 15 days.
While the original expected expenditure for the venture was pegged at Rs 113 crore, the BMC has revealed that it is set to incur an expenditure of Rs 45 crore for a period of five years, including expenses on the climate-controlled enclosure and specialised veterinary doctors who will care for the birds during their three-month quarantine period.
The public will likely be able to see the penguins by November.
The BMC has appointed three separate agencies for the venture — Oceanis, an Australian agency to care for the penguins; SIVAT, a US-based company, and Hindustan Construction Company, which is designing and constructing the enclosure spread across an area of 1,550 square feet and a 250-square-foot quarantine area. The construction of b





High-Tech Tank To Dissipate Hippo Poo
Henry the hippo has said goodbye to the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri and is now at the Cincinnati Zoo. Henry, 34, described as "one of the most charismatic animals at the zoo, is joined by a 17 year old female, named Bibi. .A new exhibit will open July 21st. In order to house them the Cincinnati Zoo had to build an elaborate water filtration system, as described in this story which originally aired last summer.

Here's an encore presentation of the report:
The Cincinnati Zoo is in the midst of a massive project to make hippos feel welcome and give them a clean place to live.
The clean part sounds easier than it actually is because the dirty little secret about hippopotamuses is they poop a lot. Two of them defecate nearly 1,000 pounds a day. In essence Mark Fisher, vice president of the zoo's facilities, says he has to build a massive toilet that is nice and clean so visitors can view the hippos in an underwater tank.
Because this is such a difficult project, there aren’t very many underwater hippo displays. Fisher and others visited about a half dozen of them to see what worked and what didn’t. HGC Construction





Zoos are built for people. Animals need sanctuaries instead.
U.S. zoos and aquariums draw many millions of visitors a year, and no one thinks those numbers will drop sharply very soon. But Americans’ post-“Blackfish” discomfort with SeaWorld and incidents like the recent shooting of a Cincinnati zoo gorilla have sparked new questions about how the destinations will evolve. This week, we’re publishing pieces on the future of zoos by zoo and animal experts. You can read essays by a zoo director here, a zoo designer here and





Pump malfunction at zoo lagoon leaves stingrays, sharks dead
 Eighteen cownose stingrays and three spotted bamboo sharks have died after an apparent pump malfunction in a lagoon at a western Michigan Zoo.
The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids reports Friday on its website that one of two pumps for the lagoon shut down late Thursday and a backup alarm system designed to notify staff also did not function properly.





Zoo establishes $1 million fund for elephant conservation
In a presentation before the Metro Council today, the Oregon Zoo Foundation announced it has earmarked $1 million to establish a permanent endowment fund supporting Asian elephant conservation.

“This is a huge step in our long-term commitment to protecting Asian elephants,” said Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director. “This is a species that desperately needs our help.”

Moore noted that while the zoo has long supported conservation projects for Asian elephants, it previously lacked a dedicated funding source to do so. Earlier this year, for example, the zoo tapped the foundation’s Endangered Species Justice Fund for $10,000 to buy milk-replacer formula for orphaned elephant babies in Borneo. 

“In the past, it’s sometimes been a case of catch as catch can,” Moore said. “But now we have a permanent, self-sustaining source of funds specifically dedicated to making a direct and positive impact on Asian elephants. We’re drawing a line in the sand to make sure Asian elephants don’t go extinct.”

The Asian elephant conservation fund is the foundation’s fifth $1 million endowment in support of the zoo and its work. In 2008, a fund supporting day-to-day operations at Predators of the Serengeti was established. And in 2013, the foundation created three additional $1 million endowments benefitting conservation, edu





Rare Bactrian deer survives years of turmoil in Afghanistan
Forty years of unrest in Afghanistan left wildlife ecologists uncertain whether one of the region's rare sub-species of red deer, the Bactrian deer (Cervus elaphus bactrianus), had survived in the country. But recently, for the first time since the 1970s, a survey team led by Wildlife Conservation Society ecologist Zulmai Moheb, with colleagues in Afghanistan, confirm that a small population exists. They say the animals urgently need conservation.






Escaped lynx evades capture for SECOND time after outwitting trap and stealing food from it
They've used drones and thermal imaging but still they can't find animal on the run three days after it escaped from Dartmoor Zoo by digging under its enclosure
A lynx which escaped from a zoo has evaded capture for a second time after it disturbed traps laid out to catch it but still managed to make off with the food.

Two-year-old Falviu dug its way out of an enclosure at Dartmoor Zoo two days ago.

Staff have spent 48 hours trying to track down the animal amid a flurry of reported sightings in the area.





Orangutan Gets to Top of Wall at Kansas City Zoo Exhibit
An orangutan got to the top of a wall surrounding the Kansas City Zoo's ape exhibit, but quickly returned to the enclosure without any contact with zoo visitors.

The zoo instructed visitors to go indoors until the situation was resolved Sunday afternoon.

Zoo spokeswoman Julie Neemeyer told The Kansas City Star ( http://j.mp/29c4fGp ) there were no injuries, and the 17-year-old female Borneo orangutan didn't have to be tranquilized.

Zookeepers brought the exhibit's seven orangutans into a holding building while they tried to figure out how to keep the incident from recurring.

Before the zoo's $6 million orangutan exhi





Breeding ban on tigers in private zoos
Private zoos will be banned from breeding tigers under fresh efforts to end the illegal trading of animals and body parts in the wake of the Tiger Temple scandal. The move by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation came after the carcasses of 40 tiger cubs were found in fridges at Wat Pa Luang Ta Maha Bua, better known as the Tiger Temple, in Kanchanaburi, and 30 dead cubs were found preserved in jars. About 2,000 tiger skins and talismans made mainly from tiger parts were also confiscated. The discoveries were made when officials raided the temple to relocate 147 live tigers and sparked fears of widespread illegal trading in tiger parts. An investigation was launched into private zoos around the country. Wildlife activists said they believed many private zoos were involved in the illegal wildlife trade and the sale of organ parts. They said the zoos needed to raise funds to cover the high cost of caring for tigers and other animals as tourist revenue was not enough. Tuanjai Noochdamrong, director of the department's Wildlife Conservation Office, said there were concerns about the uncontrolled growth of captive tigers in the private zoos and links to illegal wildlife trade. She said the office is collecting the DNA of about 1,500 tigers in private zoos to determine whether there had been any illegal trading among them. The first DNA collection covering 500 tigers will be finished by September, and the rest is expected





Even scientists take selfies with wild animals. Here’s why they shouldn’t.
One of the great things about being a biologist is getting to work in the field and connect with wildlife. Through my career, I have enjoyed many unforgettable close encounters with various species, including turtles, birds, marine mammals, invertebrates and a lot of fish, especially sharks and rays.

My research program also has a strong focus on citizen science. I use data collected by recreational scuba divers and snorkelers to describe marine animal populations and conservation needs. Therefore, I work closely with the tourism industry.

Because of these connections, I am often asked to advise on best practices for tourists interacting with wildlife. In response I tell them that scientific studies have documented how unnecessarily handling or getting too close to wild animals can have lasting consequences – including causing stress which can interfere with their feeding or mating success.

Reflecting on my own experiences, however, I recognize that I and many of my peers have not always followed those best practices. Sure, we need to have close encounters with wildlife to do our work, and we have the necessary training and permits. We often have reason to photograph animals in the course of our research – for example, to quickly capture information such as size, health, sex, and





'World's saddest polar bear' Arturo dies in Argentine zoo
A polar bear dubbed “the saddest bear in the world” has died in his zoo in Argentina, after repeated attempts to move him to better conditions failed.

Arturo, who was the last captive polar bear in the country, died of old age in Mendoza on Sunday. He was 31.

The bear, born in the US and moved to Argentina aged eight, earned the nickname after his mate died, leaving him alone.

And he became a cause celebre for animal rights activists in 2014, when Greenpeace began a petition to have him moved to Canada. More than half a million people signed a petition demanding his move north, but veterinarians said he was too old to survive the journey.

But his case was not the only one to cause controversy in the zoo, situated at the foot of the Andes.

Last month it closed its doors to visitors after 64 animals died between December and May. Officials said outbreaks





Egypt's oldest elephant 'Karimah' dies at age 51
Fifty-one-year-old elephant Karimah passed away at the Giza Zoo on Tuesday, Ahram Arabic news website reported, citing sources within the agriculture ministry.
Karimah was the oldest and most popular elephant and a major attraction at Egypt's largest zoo.

Born in India in 1965, Karimah was given to Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel-Nasser by Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1969.
Asian elephants live for an averag





Controversy around release of black swan in Swiss lake
The release of a black swan in Lake Geneva by a government official has created a controversy as it is an exotic species. Bird groups say it violates regulations and sets a bad example.
The bird, baptised Nelson in homage to the late South African president Nelson Mandela, was released in Vevey on the shores of Lake Geneva on June 30 by Vaud cantonal government member Jacqueline de Quattro.
Nelson was captured from the lake on May 27 and temporarily housed in the Servion zoo. A video showing the capture elicited consternation on the web and a social media campaign to set the bird free was launched.
The swan had a ring around its leg indi





Georgia Aquarium Rejecting MasterCard Over PETA Protest
MasterCard is no longer welcome at the Georgia Aquarium.

In a July 1, 2016, in email to aquarium members, volunteers and supporters, Aquarium chairman and CEO Michael Leven said MasterCard is endorsing a protest from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) over animal displays in accredited zoos and aquariums.

As a result, "Georgia Aquarium will no longer be accepting MasterCard online, and guests buying tickets in person at the Aquarium will be asked if they can use any other form of payment," Leven said. "No guest will be turned away if MasterCard is their only option, but we will be stating that we strongly prefer the use of other credit/debit cards for their transactions.

"We have also asked that Restaurant Associates, Event Networks and Lanier Parking follow suit," he continued. "We have received unconditional support from our board members, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions and Dolphin Discovery."

The controversy stems from a June 28 PETA release that said MasterCard has ended its pr





Caribbean island's last two rare frogs are reunited
The last two remaining wild mountain chicken frogs living on Montserrat have been reunited, and are hoped to begin breeding on the Caribbean island for the first time since 2009.

Last month, a project took the last female and relocated her into the territory of the remaining male as part of a 20-year recovery plan for the species, one of the world’s largest and rarest frogs that exists on just two Caribbean islands, Montserrat and Dominica.

The two frogs are the island’s only known survivors of an outbreak of the deadly chytrid fungus disease, a pandemic ravaging amphibian populations worldwide. There are less than 100 left in the wild.





6 global consultants shortlisted.
French and Singapore consultants are among the six out of  23 shortlisted for preparing master plan for the development of  Indira Gandhi Zoological Park for which World Bank has sanctioned $6 million (Rs 36 crore)  in January this year. Apart from the two foreign companies, four from the country also submitted their papers.

Curator K Vijay Kumar said the six member list has been submitted to the World Bank authorities recently and they would decided on the best by end of this month.

After consultants are finalized, the government  will float tenders for development, he said. Earlier 15 consultants applied when the deadline ended in Febr





AZA accreditation helps Abilene Zoo go above and beyond
Recently, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums gave the Abilene Zoo an award.

The reason? Years upon years of accreditation by the organization, which represents more than 230 institutions in the United States and overseas.

"Abilene has been one of longest-serving members," said Rob Vernon, a spokesperson for the AZA.

Earlier this year, the zoo was one of two recipients of the Association's Quarter Century awards.

"They were first accredited in 1985, and they've been continuously accredited since," he said.

The association is a nonprofit organization that focuses on advancement in zoos of conservation, education, science and recreation.

Every AZA member goes through the accreditation process every five years. The zoo's last endorsement was in 2014. It will be vetted again in March 2019.

Bill Gersonde, the zoo's executive director, said that the AZA membership benefits are twofold.

"It gives you the chance to interact with other professional organizations, with other accredited zoos, and that's in regar





HOW TO UNDERSTAND ZOO ACCREDITATION
In general, "accreditation" means official recognition and approval of a zoo, aquarium, wildlife park or sanctuary by a group of experts. The definition of such experts is often chosen independently by each accreditation organization, but includes people with decades of experience in fields such as animal management, veterinary science (as pertinent to the species in the facility), and conservation.





Laos Slapped for Supplying Macaques to Illegal Wildlife Traders in China
A U.N.-affiliated organization is attempting to interrupt Laos’ booming monkey business as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species recently suspended exports of long-tailed macaques from the Southeast Asian nation.

The CITES decision comes after investigations by animal welfare activists uncovered a “monkey washing” scam in which unscrupulous wildlife traders in Laos sold wild macaques to China, Vietnam and Cambodia, and dealers in those countries re-exported the primates to other nations falsely labeled as originating in those countries.

“Our investigations have raised serious concerns about the plundering of wild populations of long-tailed macaques from their native forests to feed the international research industry,” Sarah Kite, special projects director for U.K.-based Cruelty Free International, told RFA’s Lao Service.

“In particular, there is an unregulated trade and the misrepresentation of the origin of thousands of macaques exported from Laos to China and Vietnam,” she explained.

While the ethics of animal research are a hotly-debated topic, scientists say macaques are still necessary. Long-tailed macaques are often lumped together with their cousins t





Zoos will ‘look and act radically different in 20 years’
Zoos are always in the news, and it’s usually for cute reasons, like the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s newborn baby wolves, lemurs and warthogs.

But there’s been more attention lately to the ethics of keeping animals in captivity. The topic surged to the headlines in May, when the Cincinnati Zoo killed a gorilla to save the life of a toddler who’d fallen in its enclosure. It drove the National Aquarium’s recent decision to retire its eight dolphins to a seaside sanctuary. And it prompted Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta to announce late last month that the city would close its zoo and convert it into an ecological park. “Captivity is degrading,” Larreta said, adding that he believes the zoo “generates more sadness






 Naming wild animals creates a false bond in our minds
Animals do not name themselves. The lion illegally hunted down in Zimbabwe last year did not know he was “Cecil.” The western lowland gorilla shot at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-year-old fell into his enclosure did not answer to the name “Harambe.”

We can understand why zoos, nature preserves and animal rescue groups give their headliner animals a name. It helps humans imagine a bond with the creatures, leading to donations, visits and other support for their institutions.

But naming wild animals is not all good. “It trivializes wildlife and makes it less wild,” complains Don Thomas, a well-known hunting writer and environmentalist based in Montana.

Thomas told me that while writing an article about the zoo controversy, he had used “Harambe” as the original title but then caught himself. There’s a long tradition of hunters giving names to “special






Lions escape from enclosure in zoo south of Berlin
Two lions broke out of their enclosure in a zoo south of Berlin on Wednesday morning, leading to all visitors being evacuated, local media report.
The big cats broke out at around 11 am according to Bild, with one of them even making it into an area where visitors are free to enter.

A veterinarian was able to shoot a sedative at the female cat, Gretchen, who was then brought safely back to her enclosure.

The male lion, Massai, was still outside his closure but was in an area which was considered secure.

All visitors were evacuated from the zoo in Baruth, which is situated in Brandenburg around 75 kilometres south of Berlin.

Police and fire services were called into action and have said that at no point were human lives in danger.





Melbourne zoo baby elephant suffers new setback with rare tendon condition
MELBOURNE Zoo’s baby elephant has had its leg reset in a cast after suffering a setback.

The three-week-old calf was born with a rare tendon condition that prevents her standing.

She has not been able to feed from her mother Num-Oi and without help would certainly have died.

After announcing this week that the baby had managed to stand following intensive physiotherapy on her legs, the zoo’s head veterinarian Dr Michael Lynch said today that calf remained in a critical condition.

“She has managed to stand up several times on her own, but as we have noticed that the tendon on the left fore leg has been slipping back a bit, we have decided to recast that leg,” he said.

As the calf was still not bottle-feeding reliably, zoo staff have been supplementing her nutrition with a drip.

“While she has showed reasonable strength and has been quite settled over the last few days, she is losing weight and if this continues then her health will become very difficult to manage.”

Zoo staff would try feeding her a different nutritional solution from tomorrow morning, which they hoped s





Seoul Zoo: 286 Animals Died in the Past 17 Months
Seoul Zoo, located in Seoul Grand Park, recently revealed that 286 of its animals have died since May 2015. That’s also 5.4 percent of all the animals managed by the zoo.

The zoo also revealed that 132, or 46 percent, of the dead animals were globally endangered species, 30 of which were classed CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix I (threatened with extinction) including a jaguar, snow leopard, and lemur. The other 102 were CITES Appendix II (not necessarily threatened but may become so).

The trade of endangered plant and animal species is regulated according to CITES. Trade of CITES Appendix I fauna and flora is only permitted under exceptional circumstances, while trade of CITES Appendix II animals and plants is strictly controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. CITES Appendix III refers to species that are protected in at least one country and can be traded by obtaining clearance documents from the importing country.

Among the 132 endangered animals that died at the Seoul Zoo, only 12 (9 percent) resulted from ‘old age’, whereas the causes of death for the rest of the animals were injuries or diseases, including ‘injuries from assault (animal)’, ‘bacterial infection’, and ‘cerebral hemorrhage’.

“Although the direct cause of death was categorized as disease, the majority of these animals were of old age,” said a zoo official. “And these animals eventually got sick and died.”

For instance, the direct cause of death for its jaguar was ‘pleura cancer’. But according to the zoo, the animal had ‘completed its average life span (of 11 to 23 years)’.

The same applied for the zoo’s leopard, which was 15 years old, and the zoo said that it was relatively old compared to the animal’s average life expectancy of 20 to 25 years. The official cause of death for the leopard was ‘suppressed respiration from drug side effects’.

The zoo also pointed to the fact the death rate for its animals in 2015 was 5.4 percent, which was lower than similar facilities overseas. The rate for Japan’s Ueno Zoo was 18.8 percent, while Yokohama Zoological Gardens had a 10.5 perc






Feral cat and bear form unlikely friendship at zoo
 A feral cat and a black bear at a zoo in California have formed an unlikely and adorable bond.

The two furry black mammals have become inseparable at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary after the cat moved in. Zookeepers even nicknamed the cat “Little Bear,” because of how she trails behind the 550-pound bear, Sequoia.




Police target zoos to crush tiger trade
The controversial Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi has spurred the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) into expanding its inspection of private zoos suspected to be part of a criminal gang smuggling tiger meat and carcasses to China. Several zoos raising Bengal tigers were found to be involved in the illegal tiger trade ring, said CSD deputy chief Montri Paencharoen who has been assigned by the Central Investigation…





Parks chief vows to up seized tiger care
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says it will improve facilities for taking care of 146 tigers confiscated from the famous Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi's Sai Yok district. The...





Melbourne Zoo's baby elephant stands after leg casts removed
A baby elephant born with a rare condition that prevented it from standing has stood up for the first time, keepers at Melbourne Zoo have said.

The two-and-a-half weeks old animal was able to stand for a short period of time after medical staff removed casts from its front legs.

But zoo staff warned the female Asian elephant was still critical, despite these "small wins."

The calf has been diagnosed with a congenital carpal flexure, a condition that prevented the calf from straightening the ankles on its front feet.

Although the condition is thought to be rare in Asian elephants, it is not unc









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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 http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

Peter earns his living as an independent international 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"


photo
Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
      

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