Friday, July 22, 2016

Zoo News Digest 22nd July 2016 (ZooNews 931)

Zoo News Digest 22nd July 2016 
(ZooNews 931)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I am wondering just how long the saga of the Lynx on Dartmoor can run. It is going on and on and on. Now the spin off stories are starting. I daresay that there has been a big increase in numbers of visitors to the park. Meanwhile the saga of the South Lakes Safari continues and no doubt that is extremely busy too.

It's the 'Keep Cool' season. It comes around every year. Before too long it will be the 'Keep Warm' season once again. It never ceases to amaze me how the press lap it up and post these stories although they were something new. Don't get me wrong, I am happy that zoos get the publicity but they are not the sort of thing which I will include in zoo news digest.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 25,000 '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, 


Rhode Island becomes first state to ban elephant bullhooks
Rhode Island has become the first state to ban the use of bullhooks to train elephants.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo on Wednesday signed legislation passed by the General Assembly that bans the hooks in circuses and traveling shows.
Dozens of cities previously banned the use of bullhooks, but the Humane Society of the United States says Rhode Island is the first state to do so.
Animal welfare advocates have pushed such measures, saying the hooks can cause trauma and injury to elephants.
Circuses including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have stopped using elephants in their shows. But several other circuses still use them.
The new law does not apply to Roger Williams Park Zoo, which uses bull hooks as "part of our regular practice," according to a spokeswoman, who added that the zoo calls the devices "guides."
The zoo's executive director, Dr. Jeremy Goodman, said that the device does not hurt the elephants. "We love our animals, and we would never want any harm for them," Goodman told The Providence Journal on Thursday. "We use it

Zoos: obsolete or absolutely brilliant?
The statement (left) is one I hear frequently, both inside of the conservation community and outside of it. I have found that discussing zoos and conservation in the same sentence is a sure way to divide a room. One year ago, I graduated in Zoology and Conservation. Upon graduating I can honestly say that I saw zoos as a less than desirable entity. They are something that has caused internal debate for me, for many years. Without the ability to go and see animals in the zoo my passion for animals may not have grown in the way that it did. Yet, as one studies animal behaviour and intelligence you begin to question if the zoo is the correct environment for them to express all of the behaviours they should. So I chose to err on the side of insitu work with a cautionary approach to the use of zoos in conservation. Fast forward one year and I will soon have completed a masters in Zoo Conservation Biology, a course which in its very title promotes the use of zoos in conservation. Even as someone who called themselves a zoologist my eyes have been opened. Now the important part, WHY?

 Should we close our zoos? You asked Google – here’s the answer
Recently, for reasons too odd to explain, I visited London zoo without intending to. I don’t go to zoos nowadays. I was quickly reminded why. A crowd were gathered by a compound. Behind a pane of glass, sitting with her back to us, was an adult western lowland gorilla. She was impossibly huge, almost too black and beautiful to be real. She resolutely refused to meet the public gaze. She looked straight ahead, into the simulacrum of a rainforest with which she had been provided. Disturbed by the sight, I took one look and left.

What is the role of the zoo in the 21st century? In the medieval past it was a menagerie, like the royal collection of heraldic beasts kept in the Tower of London, from where a polar bear would be allowed out to fish for its lunch in the Thames. In Georgian London, Jane Austen and Lord Byron ascended to the first floor of the Exeter Exchange in the Strand to gawp at a department store of exotic creatures. Among them was Chunee the Indian elephant, who, enraged by an abscessed tooth, accidentally killed his keeper and was shot and harpooned to death by a platoon of soldiers. Passersby wrote to the Times deploring the terrible roars of the pachyderm as he died. It was Chunee’s demise that prompted the creation of London zoo, as a more humane way to keep captive animals.

Now zoos look increasingly like sideshows. With natural history documentaries and the ability to travel globally, we can get our fix of charismatic megafauna on YouTube or in real life. The sight of a psychotic big cat obsessively prowling its cage seems truly anachronistic. When a recent

The crooks behind rhino slaughter
Rifle in hand, a Vietnamese man with shoulder-length hair squats next to the carcass of a rhino. It’s a photograph taken in late 2006 on a game farm in Limpopo — "the first legal hunt of a rhino by a Vietnamese national" recorded in that province. The man in the picture called himself Michael Chu, but his real name is Chu Ðang Khoa.

Today, Chu is a wealthy businessman and notorious playboy. In numerous Vietnamese press reports — each one more breathless than the next — Chu is described as a "diamond tycoon" and "mysterious character" who spent several years in SA, where he "specialised in rhino horns, ivory and diamonds". His ties to SA are such that the press have even nicknamed him "Khoa Nam Phi" or "Khoa, the South African".

What the tabloids don’t say is that Chu left SA under a cloud in 2011, after being arrested for the illegal possession of five rhino horns. He was convicted, fined R40,000 and deported.

But according to a new report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Chu has emerged as a key player in a company supplying wildlife from SA to the Vinpearl Safari Park, a bizarre, Jurassic Park-style zoo on a Vietnamese island in the Gulf of Thailand. The zoo, built for a staggering US$147m, opened in December last year with plans to include more than 100 white rhino on the site. And the man helping Vinpearl source the rhino and other animals from private owners in SA: Chu himself.

Alarmingly, Chu is doing this using a company he registered in SA back in 2005 kn

Missing lynx from Dartmoor Zoo will be driven back with POO from tigers and lions
The fugitive feline will be tricked into thinking a larger predator is nearby and retreat.

Head of operations George Hyde said staff are hoping to pinpoint the pussy’s exact location with night vision motion sensor cameras.

They can then lay down a cordon of whiffy droppings from other large predators such as lion, tiger and jaguar around its location.

George said: “The scent of the bigger cats will dissuade the lynx from going further away from the zoo.

“We need to keep him as close as possible and wa

Some of the people who are supposed to be saving rhinos are helping them die out
They are supposed to save the rhino — police in Mozambique, South African soldiers, park rangers and government officials.

But the people who could help stop the species’ extinction are often making things worse, according to a report Wednesday that laid out a series of damning failures of governance and law enforcement.

The problem is part corruption, part incompetence and partly the petty refusal of neighboring governments to cooperate, as rhinos face ruthless, highly organized international syndicates, according to the report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, an analytical group.

Diplomats or government delegations from North Korea, Vietnam and China have abused their diplomatic status to traffic rhino horn, according to the report. Rhino horn, consisting of keratin and similar to horses’ hooves, is valued in parts of Asia as a premium, status-conferring medicinal substance. Chinese citizens accused in major smuggling operations have been arrested, but granted bail in southern African co

South Lakes Safari Zoo eyes move to South Lakeland
A ZOO boss is weighing up the future of his award-winning attraction after he was denied a licence renewal and has intimated that one course of action could be a move to South Lakeland.

South Lakes Safari zoo's David Gill told the Gazette in an exclusive interview that a move to a site close to J36 of the M6 near Kendal was one option that has been floated by the management team now in charge of the day-to-day running of the Dalton business.

"The benefit to the zoo would be in South Lakeland District Council," said a surprisingly upbeat Mr Gill.

USDA Launches New Attempt to Revoke Tiger Petting Zoo License
The operator of a roadside zoo in Southern Indiana could lose his license and pay up to $1.1 million in fines under a new complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The complaint filed last week outlines more than 100 alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act by Tim Stark and his animal exhibit, Wildlife In Need. It alleges that Stark abused animals, denied them medical care and allowed an escape.

Stark faces the loss of his animal exhibitor license and a fine of up to $10,000 for each of the 118 alleged violations. Despite numerous clashes and 13 violations during USDA inspections since August 2014, the feds have so far levied no fines against Stark.

According to USDA inspectors, Stark euthanized a young female leopard by beating it to death with a baseball bat. Another leopard, investigators said, escaped and killed a neighbor’s pets before the neighbor shot it. Stark also is accused of physically abusing young tigers that bit customers’ clothing during a “Tiger Baby Playtime” exhibit.

Four animals -- a kangaroo, an adult otter and two baby otters -- died after Stark failed to call a veterinarian when they got sick, the complaint said. Stark is also accused of lacking purchase records of some animals. When inspectors visited, they said Stark yelled profanities -- and ordered them and the s

Protest planned outside Mumbai Zoo over import of penguins
Several citizens and activists have started an online campaign against the decision of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of importing Humboldt Penguins, and have also decided to group together and protest outside the Mumbai Zoo in Byculla on July 23.
"We have received a lot of support from citizens and activists alike against the penguins import. One of the main reasons that we are against this is because a tremendous amount of water will be required to keep these Humboldt penguins at the zoo. Just two months ago, we were facing a severe water shortage all over Maharashtra, which also l

Japanese Zoo lions are now custom jeans designers
Curtis, a 19-year-old male lion, and O’Neal, a 16-year-old female, both of whom live at a Japanese zoo in the Tohoku region, are two very talented lions. They produce unique patterns of scratches and bites that are then transformed by Okayama Prefecture’s Momotaro and Japan Blue, two of Japan’s top jean manufacturers, into abstract designs for ten unique pairs of distressed jeans.

The 2016 edition zoo jeans are one aspect of a revitalization campaign for Japan’s Tohok

Tropical baboon thriving in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
The first Hamadryas baboon, the smallest of its kind born on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is thriving in a zoo in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
"The successful breeding of the first baby baboon on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will be an encouragement for introducing and reproducing tropical and sub-tropical primates in high-altitude areas, where low temperatures and lack of oxygen pose a big challenge for their repro

World's greatest concentration of unique mammal species is on Philippine island
Where is the world's greatest concentration of unique species of mammals? A team of American and Filipino authors have concluded that it is Luzon Island, in the Philippines. Their 15-year project, summarized in a paper published in the scientific journal Frontiers of Biogeography, has shown that out of 56 species of non-flying mammal species that are now known to live on the island, 52 live nowhere else in the world. Of those 56 species, 28 were discovered during the course of the project. Nineteen of the species have been formally described in scientific journals, and nine are currently "in the works."

This illegal practice has overtaken trophy poaching in depleting wildlife in Zambia
When Synody Mulibehzi woke up June 27, 2012, he had two good arms. By nightfall, he would have just one.

Back then, Mulibehzi and his brother were employed on an anti-poaching team on a conservancy in Zambia, according to accounts made to photographer Benjamin Rutherford. Such teams are employed on game reserves, conservancies and farms, to protect animals from being poached and sold as bushmeat. On that day, Mulibehzi and seven others responded to a report of an early morning gunshot on the conservancy that he regularly patrolled. Armed only with a big stick, Mulibehzi charged headlong into the thick bush.

Sometimes these anti-poaching patrols catch up with the rustlers; sometimes they’re too far behind. But this time it was the former, and in a flash Mulibehzi found himself staring at a homemade shotgun at close range. A plume of smoke filled his eyes. He commanded his hand to wipe it away, but it lay limp.

Mulibehzi spent two weeks in stable condition at a hospital, Rutherford says, and a month later went back to work (on his own insistence; the farm manager wanted him to take it easy). With a stump left in place of his arm, he was tasked with looking after cattle. He was unable to shake the traumatic experience, though, and he left. But still R

The Dartmoor lynx has ‘rewilded’ itself. Should Britain follow suit?
During the Second World War small groups of people were thinking about how wildlife and the countryside might best be conserved in the hoped-for aftermath of the conflict. From such discussions emerged in 1949 the Nature Conservancy, the first government conservation body in Britain. It sought to protect examples of heaths, meadows, moorland and coppiced woodland. These were, by then, starting to disappear rapidly as farming and forestry responded to postwar pressures to increase food and timber production.

While much was and is still being achieved by the Nature Conservancy and its successors, there has been an overall decline in even formerly common species and habitats across Britain. So as we enter another period of national turbulence, should we similarly be considering new approa

Cynthia Stringfield: Zoos save animals, try to change human behavior
In response to John Crisp's column July 6, "Era of captive animals is passing," as an animal care expert I have devoted the past 33 years to caring for animals, working in conservation and educating the public. I am currently a zoo veterinarian and college professor teaching future animal professionals.

We don't do this for the money, because it is a low-paying field. We do it because we are passionate about animal welfare and the future of our planet.

I believe many people like John Crisp (who is an English teacher) care for and want to help animals, and that is our important common ground. But unfortunately, they have been led astray by others who are either woefully uninformed, or worse are deliberately misleading people to achieve their own agendas.

Crisp uses typical clichés to make his argument for all animals regardless of what facility they live in or in which country, lumping all of them together. To understand what is best for an animal, a person needs to be an expert in that species and in the science of animal behavior, care and welfare. They also need to be an expert in the individual animal, because individual animals vary greatly due to their genetics and backgrounds.

For example, when done ethically, most animals

Signal Boost: Emo Animal People (Gabrielle Harris)
Last night, I saw an amazing blog written by an incredible person.  Some of you already know her, but for those of you who don't, let me tell you a little about her.

Gabrielle Harris is an inspirational leader in the marine mammal community.  She is a shining example of an experienced animal caretaker in a leadership position who has never lost sight of the animals' emotional welfare.  She is a conservationalist, serving the needs of animals both in aquariums and in the wild.  If you've been to an IMATA conference, you've probably seen some of her amazing presentations.  Oh, and she

'Hunters with guns' trying to find and shoot missing Dartmoor lynx
Dartmoor Zoo has had reports of "hunters" with guns trying to find and shoot the missing lynx.

Two-year-old Flaviu has now been missing for 12 days and zoo staff admit they are running out of ideas.

Owner Ben Mee said there have been several false sightings and someone was spotted in the area with a gun.

"Idiots are out there trying to snare or shoot him just for a selfie next to a corpse," he told the Sunday Times.

Przewalski's mares fly from Prague Zoo to Mongolia
Four Przewalski's horse mares from the Prague Zoo left for Mongolia, where they would be transported to the Gobi B National Park and released into the wild later, aboard a military special plane in the afternoon.
After two intermediate landings in Kazan and Novosibirsk, Russia, the plane will finally land in Bulgan, Mongolia at 13:35 local time, that is on Sunday morning CEST.
This time, the Prague Zoo in cooperation with the military prepared a double transport. Apart from the four mares from Prague, the CASA military plane will also transport horses internally in Mongolia.
"Let us hope that it will go on like in the previous years. This is a complex and risky operation and serious problems may occur easily," Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek told reporters.
The mares, called Heia, Reweta, Nara and Heilige, were all born in 2013 and they come from various European countries. They were selected for the project since they had a high chance to multiply well.
After their arrival in Mongolia, the mares in their transport boxes will be loaded to lorries and driven to the Takhin Tal area in the strictly protected Gobi B where they will be released to special fences for acclimatisation.
Next Wednesday, the CASA military plane will fly from Bulgan to Ulaanbaatar to take another four horses, including one stallion, from the Khustain Nuruu National Park and fly them to Takhin Tal reserve in Gobi B.
The Prague Zoo is one of the main organisers of the transfers of the Przewalski's horses, the last of which was shot dead in the wild 40 years ago, back to its original homeland.
The zoo started breeding the Przewalski horse in 1932. It has kept the international pedigree book of this species since 1959.
In cooperation with the Czech military, the z

Live-stream cameras trained on a wide variety of animals in zoos, in nature preserves and in the wild allow animal lovers and procrastinating office workers the world over to observe animals 24/7. People who might never visit the National Zoo can still watch its giant pandas munching bamboo and napping on rocks absolutely whenever the mood strikes. Blissed-out sea otters are viewable all day via a stream trained on their habitat at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. offers glimpses of megafauna going about their business in South Africa, Tanzania and Egypt, and offers, well, live looks at goats, if that’s your thing.

One would imagine the popularity of these live cams could correspond to a surge in affection toward these animals, and perhaps a boost in interest in their well-being. But until now, no one has really studied whether people who watch webcams form an emotional attachment to

Lions in Dubai: Safari set for completion by year-end
Dubai Safari is set for completion by end-2016, Dubai Municipality said.

“Seventy-five per cent of the project has been completed and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2016,” the civic body said.

The Dh1 billion project located at Al Warqa district will cover a total area of 119 hectares and is planned to include 10,500 animals from around the world, including 350 rare and endangered animals.

De-Extinction in Action: Scientists Consider a Plan to Reinject Long-Gone DNA into the Black-Footed Ferret Population
In 1987 only 18 black-footed ferrets were known to exist, but thanks to captive breeding and intensive management, the animals are a few hundred strong now. Yet like many species that bounce back from such small numbers, all the individuals are basically half-siblings—genetic near clones, with the same susceptibility to hereditary health problems, to potential pathogens or to environmental changes that could lead to population collapse. In an effort to boost the ferrets' genetic variability and odds of long-term survival, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering something extreme: a plan to reintroduce DNA that was lost to the population but still exists in long-dead specimens stored in zoos and museums. The effort may not sound as outlandish as the dream of resurrecting the woolly mammoth, but it does involve reviving genes that died with their hosts—and as such, it won't be easy.
The black-footed ferret's bottleneck was even worse than it sounds. Of the 18 individuals the FWS rescued nearly 30 years ago from the U.S.'s prairies, only seven passed their genes to subsequent generations. “Every black-footed ferret comes from seven individuals,” says Kimberly Fraser, a spokesperson for the FWS's Nationa

Melbourne Zoo's baby elephant Willow contracts severe infection
Events at Melbourne Zoo have taken another bad turn with battling baby elephant Willow contracting a severe infection, weakening her considerably.

Young Willow's infection caused concern among veterinarians as it proved resistant to the antibiotics they were administering. Zoo veterinarians have since switched to a new antibiotic.

Snow Leopard Enterprises Makes Raw Wool Valuable
It was in the thick of winter when Samat and his wife Shirin first started washing the coarse, rather dirty wool of their dozen or so sheep in front of their modest house in Ak-Shiyrak village, a community high up in the Kyrgyz Tian-Shan mountains. In the freezing cold, the pair were outside, elbow-deep in buckets of water, scrubbing and cleaning piles of wool. Until then, most people in Ak-Shiyrak had never bothered to wash and process their wool – there was simply no market for it. “Our neighbor saw us wash the wool, and called us fools”, Samat recalls. “He thought there was no point in doing this work, let alone in the cold.”

A couple of weeks later, however, when Shirin and Samat came home from a visit with friends late at night, they passed by that same young neighbor’s house. Peering inside, they saw him with his arms in a bucket of water, furiously washing his own wool! “He was doing it inside the house”, Samat says. “Perhaps because of the cold, but I think mostly because he didn’t want us to see him.”

Within a few weeks, dozens of denizen

A sneak peak at Scottsdale's Odysea Aquarium
Two million gallons of water and 200 tons of salt is all for over 10,000 sea animals that will be living in Odysea's 200,000-square feet of space.

For more than a year, construction workers have been building the aquarium's bones, while Dave Peranteau focuses on all of the creatures he's about to be in charge of.

Big cats HAVE lived in wild near Plymouth, says Dartmoor Zoo owner
Wild big cats DID live on the edge of Plymouth until as recently as 2010, according to the owner of Dartmoor Zoo.

There have been dozens of sightings of big cats over the years leading to the rise of the legend of the Beast of Dartmoor, as well as instances such as a 20-stone lion allegedly spotted on a South Hams country lane, not to mention reports of sheep being slaughtered by a beast in Buckfastleigh in 2014 - only to be later dismissed by police or animal experts.

But now, after a lynx managed to escape Dartmoor Zoo two weeks ago, owner Benjamin Mee has made the shock revelation that pumas roamed the city's outskirts undetected for more than 30 years.

He said a pack were released from the Sparkwell site during the 1980s and lived on nearby land, terrorising farmers and their livestock while feeding on scra

Ridiculously Cute Mouse Lemurs Hold key to Madagascar’s Past
Today, Madagascar is home to a mosaic of different habitats–a lush rainforest in the east and a dry deciduous forest in the west, separated by largely open highlands. But the island off the southeast coast of Africa hasn’t always been like that–a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences announces that these two ecologically different portions of the island were once linked by a patchwork of forested areas. And to figure it out, the scientists analyzed the DNA of some of the cutest animals on earth–mouse lemurs.

“For a long time, scientists weren’t sure how or why Madagascar’s biogeography changed in very recent geological time, specifically at the key period around when humans arrived on the island a few thousand years ago. It has been proposed they heavily impacted the Central Highland forests,” says Steve Goodman, MacArthur Field Biologist at The Field Museum in Chicago, who co-authored the study and has been studying Malagasy animals for thirty years. “This study shows the landscape was changing thousan

Attempt to block elephant's transfer to Auckland
A legal bid - thought to be the first of its kind - is under way to stop the transfer of an elephant from Sri Lanka to New Zealand.

Eighteen groups have presented a petition to the Court of Appeal in Sri Lanka, calling for an injunction to stop five-year-old female elephant Nandi being transferred to Auckland Zoo.

The zoo has defended its programme, saying it is not making money off the elephants it is bringing over.

Death of Four Tigers Raises Question Over Bukittinggi Zoo’s Standards
The death of four tigers in at the Bukittinggi Zoo in West Sumatra has left wildlife organizations and authorities questioning the degree of care given to the animals.

West Sumatra Deputy Governor Nasrul Abit said x-ray results indicated the tigers — two Sumatran tigers and two clouded leopards — suffered birth defects leading to a complication in their lungs.

“The analysis showed that the four tigers have been sick since birth due to internal defects. There were abnormalities in the lungs, weakening the animal’s bodies to the point of no return,” Nasrul said on Tuesday (19/07), as quoted by state news agency Antara.

He urged for better management at the zoo to prevent future incidents.

“All responsible parties must pay attention to this,” he said.

The deaths were announced by Margo Utomo, regional head of the conservation of natural resources.

The two Sumatran tigers were pronounced dead on June 30 and July 1, with the female cub diagnosed with a coronary heart disease and the male cub suffering digestive tract inflammation. Haemorrhaging was found in the lungs, spleen and liver of both cubs.

“The two Sumatran tiger cubs died a day after the other, with the female cub’s condition much worse than the male’s,” Tri Nola Mayasari, Bukittingi Wildlife and Cultural Park veterinarian, said on Monday.

The four deaths have raised suspicions among animal activists that the zoo had given the endangered animals inadequate care.

As reported by environmental news portal Mongabay Indonesia, Suhandri, Sumatra regional leader of World Wildlife Fund Indonesia, called for further investigation into the deaths.

Suhandri suspects the deaths are due to natur

Bear That Escaped Zoo Had Climbed Trees With Electric Wires
 previously climbed trees wrapped with "hot wires" intended to jolt animals as a deterrent, according to an inspection report.

The exhibit wasn't open to the public when the female cub, called Joanie, scaled a 12½ foot fence with an angled top and got into a viewing area on June 25, the Columbus Zoo said. Visitors in nearby areas were evacuated as the bear was corralled and sedated. No one was hurt.

It happened as a zookeeper was monitoring how the roughly year-old cub — named for rocker Joan Jett — and another female cub were interacting with their new enclosure, which is the zoo's procedure when putting animals into new habitats. The keeper responded appropriately in trying to deter the bear's climbing with verbal commands and by shaking the fence, notifying zoo staff and initiating visitor evacuation procedures, according to the zoo.

"Other than the fact that a baby bear breached an exhibit that had been holding bears for decades and nobody had gotten out of, and so took everybody by surprise, everything else went completely according to protocol," zoo spokeswoman Patty Peters said Tuesday.

The cubs, which had been rescued from the wild, had been introduced to the enclosure three days earlier. They'd been persistent in climbing on the trees in the enclosure despite existing "hot wires," so the facility already had twice added more of those deterrent elements, according to a June 27 inspection report made public

‘Dory’ Bred in Captivity for First Time
For biologist Kevin Barden, blue tangs are an obsession that began when he was five years old and came face-to-face with one at Boston's New England Aquarium. Now 29, he has played a leading role in cracking the code to successfully culturing the popular species.

Today, the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab, in conjunction with Rising Tide Conservation, announced that blue tangs—or Dory, as fans of the Disney movie will know—have been bred in captivity for the first time.

“This breakthrough has the potential to help reduce the overexploitation of the species and continue to address wildlife crime associated with cyanide use in the saltwater aquarium trade,” says biologist Andrew Rhyne, a winner of this year’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, sponsored in part by National Geographic, for coming up with a way that allows better monitoring of the marine aquarium trade.

No one knows how many blue tangs are taken from coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific each year for saltwater aquariums. No one knows how much reef is damaged annually by destructive

Historic walrus database goes live, 160 years in the making
For 160 years, seafarers have braved polar bears, storms and bitter isolation to observe huge herds of walrus gathering off the coast of Alaska and Russia each summer.
For the first time ever, all records, from aerial surveys and island expeditions to 19th Century diary entries and maps by Russian explorers, have been compiled in a single database.
"People have died making these observations," said Anthony Fischbach, the leading biologist behind the project. "This has not come lightly. It's a price you pay for working in the remotest corner of the world."
Scientists hope their data, assembled by the US Geological Survey, will give policy-makers the information they need to protect walruses, approximately 95% of which live in the Bering Sea.
Since 2007, the sea ice that females rely on to raise their pups has declined dramatically in the region, in some cases completely failing to freeze over where it was once historically plentiful.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service

Dubai Safari boss promises better life for zoo animals
The boss of the new Dubai Safari park has promised a better life for the thousands of animals that will shortly be calling it home.

On an exclusive tour of the Dhs1 billion, 119-hectare facility ahead of its October soft opening, Tim Husband told 7DAYS the park will feature state-of-the-art technology – such as rocks with air-conditioning – to ensure five-star treatment for the animals.

Auckland Zoo's Director Jonathan Wilkin on Sri Lanka's gift elephant to John Key
It's the elephant in the courtroom - a diplomatic gift of an elephant from Sri Lanka that's set to cause headaches for its government, and ours.

Sri Lanka’s President gifted Nandi, a female elephant, to our Prime Minister when he was visiting the country in February.

Now, 18 groups and individuals have petitioned Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal to stop five-year-old Nandi coming to Auckland, and the country's Attorney General has promised they'll be heard.

Kerre and Mark spoke with Auckland Zoo's direc

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

Peter earns his living as an 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"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

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