Monday, September 19, 2016

Zoo News Digest 19th September 2016 (ZooNews 938)

Zoo News Digest 19th September 2016 
(ZooNews 938)

The Kongouro from New Holland (1772)
George Stubbs

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

There are some words I would like to see the back of in the zoo world. 'Handler' which is usually married up with 'Tiger'. Unless you are working in a circus  then you are a 'zoo keeper' and not a so called 'handler'. If you are required to handle tigers then you really need to take a long hard look at the zoo you are working in.
Then there is 'wrestling' and here it is usually used in conjunction with 'Alligator' or 'Crocodile'. No you are not 'wrestling', you are 'catching' or 'restraining'. There again if you are actually 'wrestling' then once again you must realise you must be in a commercial Dysfunctional zoo.

Perhaps I am old fashioned but I also detest that phrase 'under human care'. Who are you trying to kid here? Our charges are in captivity. No doubt they are in our care but they are captive. Why do we have to try and hide the fact with flowery phrases?

Can a Leopard change its spots? Not I fear if it is called Craig Busch.

This business of the RAK Wildlife Park bothers me. I have never visited but professional colleagues who have portray it as a collection which had lost its direction from day one. So it bothers me that a well meaning soul states "Ms Hovelsas changed the name to RAK Wildlife Park as she wanted it to reflect the sanctuary it provided for its diverse array of animals rather suggest a place of cruelty and captivity."
Sorry Ms Hovelas but this is bullshit. Changing a name of a collection does not change a thing. Good zoos are the original and true sanctuaries for species.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 26,800 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 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, 


Ian Gibb - RIP

£7m investment at Chester Zoo as visitor numbers continue to grow
Chester Zoo has announced plans to invest £7m as it continues to attract growing visitor numbers and revenues.

The Zoo - declared Britain’s best on Trip Advisor - will inject the cash this autumn, to enhance and improve the habitats of some of its 20,000 animals.

Unprecedented visitor figures in 2015, which saw almost 1.7m people flock through the conservation charity’s gates, have been followed up by even higher visitor figures so far in 2016.

Income from ticket sales and visitor spending has already helped boost the zoo’s 80 conservation projects to help endangered animals in more than 30 countries worldwide.

The investment work is said to continue the ‘always building’ philosophy of the zoo’s founder George Mottershead, 85 yea

Carte Blanche stands by its story despite Lion Man 'smear campaign'
Carte Blanche has responded to a Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) complaint lodged by the controversial Lion Man, Craig Busch following its expose of alleged animal cruelty saying, “We once again stand by our story and reject all his allegations with the contempt they deserve."

Traveller24 reported that the controversial reality TV star or The Lion Man as he is known had laid the BCCSA complaint after the investigative programme alleged Busch abused his lions and other animals on his South African game farm, Jabula Big Cat Sanctuary in Rustenburg.

The issue of using wild animals for human entertainment is a deep-seated, ethical debate across conservation circles the world over.  South Africa is notorious for its canned lion industry with spin-off practices such animal interactions and lion cub petting being heavily scrutinised for falsely claiming to have conservation benefits. The IUCN has just supported a call for the practice of canned lion hunting in South Africa to be banned.

Before Busch arrived in South Africa he was already steeped in controversy. He rose to fame as New Zealand’s Lion Man through the television series in 2004 based at Whangarei’s Zion Wildlife Gardens. Africa Geographic reports in the decade since he has faced lengthy and costly legal proceedings between his mother Patricia Busch and himself over control of the park.

When he started the Jabula Big Cat Sanctuary in Rustenburg, it was reportedly not well received by South Africa's conservation community.

According to Africa Geographic report, Fred Berrange of the Leopard Conservation Park worked with Busch on Lion Man: One World, which was filmed in South Africa, and said he found his methods to be different to how conservationists did things in his part of the world.

“This guy is not really into conservation. He wants to promote himself, make money out of it at the cost of animals," Berrange is quoted as saying.

'Not the animal lover he claims to be'

According to Carte Blanche the expose was based on reports that Busch is “not the animal lover he claims to be”. 

Joy Summers, Carte Blanche Investigative producer responded saying, “Mr Craig Busch has decided to use Traveller24 in an attempt to discredit our expose on himself and his operation even though, as he rightly says he has laid a complaint at the BCCSA against Carte Blanche.”

“Mr Busch has every right to do so, but the complaint has not ye

Lion Man Craig Busch hits back at animal abuse allegations
The Lion Man is fighting back at allegations he nearly killed a baby giraffe and dragged a lion through the bush after footage of the incidents was aired on a South African television show.

Craig Busch, who now lives on a farm called the Jabula Big Cat Sanctuary near Rustenburg, north of Johannesburg, has defended the claims raised by local current affairs show Carte Blanche.

He says he is firm with the lions, but does not abuse them.
The programme featured several of his former workers who claimed Busch mistreated his animals, and nearly killed a baby giraffe while filming a segment for his Animal Planet show. 

But Busch hit back and lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for what he believes was an unfair TV report.

RAK Wildlife Park in upgrade to accommodate influx of dumped animals
RAK Wildlife Park officials hope to raise enough money to carry out a two-year expansion and upgrade of the attraction in the wake of a law making it illegal to keep exotic animals as pets.

Ninety per cent of the animals at the centre, from big cats to primates, are rescues – are liberated from people’s homes or even visiting circuses.

Rules for keeping exotic pets all over the chart in Canada: official
CAZA director calls for provincial legislation around keeping of exotic animals
A mish-mash of rules has resulted in dangerous situations across the country, according to the executive director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums.
Massimo Bergamini was in Truro to speak at the recent Atlantic Mayors’ Congress.

“We have an absolute mess of a system in place, if I could even use the word system,” he said. “It’s a hodge-podge that varies by jurisdiction.”

He said the assortment of regulations, and issues around enforcement, have led to situations that are dangerous for both humans and animals.

Ontario, he says, has the worst system and people often relocate from areas with stricter rules to open facilities such as roadside zoos there.

Sentencing delayed over fatal tiger attack on Samantha Kudeweh
The Hamilton City Council will now be sentenced on Friday over the death its zoo curator.

Mother-of-two Samantha Kudeweh died after the attack by Oz the male tiger in his enclosure at Hamilton Zoo on September 30, last year.

The council was to have been sentenced on a charge of failing to take all practical steps to ensure the 43-year-old was not exposed to hazards arising out of working with Oz.

However, Judge Denise Clark has said sentencing won't be completed today, and will instead be finished on Friday.

The council pleaded guilty over Kudeweh's death at its last appearance in June. The charge, laid by Worksafe NZ, carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

However, the council was to atten

Paignton Zoo defends decision to put down escaped antelope
A zoo has said it had 'no option' other than to put down the lechwe antelope which escaped yesterday morning.

Paignton zoo has been criticised for euthanising the lechwe after it was recaptured in a garden in the town.

Executive director Simon Tonge said that the lechwe had escaped from the enclosure after fighting with its brother and that it was impossible

Tiger attack: 'It's a farce' says widower
The husband of a zoo curator who was mauled to death by a tiger at Hamilton Zoo has called the sentence handed down to the council over safety failures 'a farce'.

Hamilton City Council was prosecuted over the death of Samantha Kudeweh, 43, who died on September 20 last year.

The council was fined $38,250 and ordered to pay more than $10,000 reparation to the curator's children. It was sentenced at Hamilton District Court this afternoon for failing to take all steps to protect Kudeweh after she was killed by an adult male Sumatran tiger in an

Zoo in Wakayama marks 15th panda birth
 A giant panda at a zoo in Wakayama Prefecture gave birth to a female cub early Sunday, the zoo operator said, bringing the total number of pandas born there to 15.

The 24-cm-long baby panda weighed 197 grams, and both the cub and mother Rauhin, 16, are in good health, the Adventure World zoo amusement park said in a statement.

The mother picked up the cub immediately after giving birth, according to a zoo official.

Rauhin was born at the zoo in the

Young man climbs into bear enclosure at Swedish zoo
“It was horribly frightening, he was only about 1.5 meters from one of the bears,” Johanna Lindahl, one of the witnesses, told the local Kvällsposten newspaper. “He pretended to pounce on the bears and frightened them.”

Zoo staff had raced to the enclosure as soon as a witness called the alarm, fearing the worst, but by the time they arrived the young man had already leapt to safety after about four minutes inside. 

“If he had fallen down, he would have fallen down straight into the enclosure and that would have been very dangerous,” Anna Blinkowski, the head of Skånes Djurpark in southern Sweden, told The Local.

“It was a very serious situation for us. The final o

Trump’s Behavior Similar To Male Chimpanzee, Says Jane Goodall
Donald Trump’s antics remind famed anthropologist Jane Goodall of the primates she spent decades studying in the wild.

“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Goodall told The Atlantic. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks.”

Goodall added, “the more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

To date, we’ve not seen Trump drag branches or throw rocks, although anything is possible. Instead of physical displays, the Republican presidential nominee has stuck to verbal ones ― bragging about his penis, launc

New generation of ‘alala: Captive breeding program staff optimistic about November release
Imagine a call breaking the silence and carrying through the trees, a “cracked caw,” as one ornithologist put it years ago: a crow’s call.

Then another call. And another, as the ‘alala in the forest wake up and remind their neighbors they are still there, yes, and please don’t come near this tree, it’s mine.

You have to imagine these things because it’s been nearly 25 years since they actually happened.

Today, the only Hawaiian crows calling from trees live in conservation centers on the Big Island and Maui, not the wild.

Like so many other island birds, their numbers have been decimated from all sides: avian malaria, toxoplasmosis, introduced predators, native predators, loss of forest habitat.

There are 131 birds — 112 adults and 19 fledglings — left in the world, the result of a decades-long breeding effort that begins a new chapter in November, when a first group of young ‘alala moves into an outdoor aviary at Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve.

If all goes well, those birds will be the foundation of a new wild population.

“Everyone’s extremely excited,” said Bryce Masuda, program manager at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, a 140-acre campus on Kamehameha Schools land in Volcano. “It’s been a long time coming.”

At first, people didn’t think the ‘alala needed to be saved.

Paul Banko, biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, remembers going into the field with his father, Win, in the 1970s to search for ‘alala. Win Banko worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and at the time was the only federal biologist assigned to the problem of Hawaii’s endangered species.

“His mandate was to figure out what’s going on, why are so many Hawaiian forest birds going extinct?” Paul Banko said in a recent interview. “When I joined him, I think the most (‘alala) we found was 56 or so that we could really account for.”

Efforts to get a captive breeding program in place didn’t take off.

“It was actually very difficult to get people to believe him (his father) that the Hawaiian crow is in kind of low numbers,” Banko said. “It simply was hard for peo

In the realm of the dwarf seahorse: tiny, fantastical, and under siege
We set out to catch a modern day unicorn, the dwarf seahorse, as dainty and secretive a creature as you can find anywhere on land or under the sea.

Measuring an inch long when full grown, they are the smallest of the four seahorse species native to the Gulf of Mexico, and one of the smallest vertebrates on the planet. They are also thought to be slowly disappearing.

In fact, the Center for Biological Integrity filed a petition in 2011 to list the dwarf seahorse under the Endangered Species Act. Federal officials are still considering that petition.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of our smallest and rarest seahorses are captured every year for sale in pet stores, seashell curio shops, or exported to China where they are believed to be a remedy for a failing libido. It appears the large majority of the harvested seahorses end up in this traditional m

Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park: After villagers say no to shifting, 15 gharials in troubled waters
With residents of the villages located on the periphery of the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary not agreeing to the release of gharials (Gavialis Gangeticus) in the wetland, the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department has been put in a dilemma. This has also posed a problem for the authorities at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park or Chhatbir Zoo from where 15 gharials were to be shifted. With the reptiles growing in size, the zoo authorities are concerned that soon the space to keep them might not be enough.
In all, about 50 gharials were to be reintroduced in the Harike Wetland which is at the border of districts Tarn Taran and Ferozepur in Punjab. Besides breeding gharials at the Chhatbir Zoo, these were to be brought from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The proposal has been hanging fire for the past two years.
As of now, there are 15 gharials at Chhatbir Zoo which are two years old and are around 1.50 metres in length which have been put on display. The reptiles are daily fed with fish, which is their natural diet.
After chalking out a proposal to release the gharials in the Harike Wetland, the department had also taken required permission from the Union Environment Ministry and other authorities concerned some months ago. These reptiles, which love to move around in running fresh water, hav

206 of Cambodia's rare royal turtles released at new center
More than 200 of Cambodia's nearly extinct royal turtles were released Tuesday in muddy waters at a new breeding and conservation center that was built in hopes of keeping the national reptile from disappearing.
The Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center in western Cambodia is a joint effort between the government's fisheries department and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.
The 206 turtles belong to one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtle species. It's also known as the southern river terrapin, but its primary name harkens to historical times when only the royal family could consume the turtle's eggs.
The turtle was believed extinct until 2000 when a small population was rediscovered, and it was designated the national reptile in 2005.
Since 2001, a joint project between the

The Surprising Link Between Tapirs and Climate Change
Then, earlier this year, Brenes-Mora came across a new field of research that changed the way he thought about tapir conservation — research that links the loss of large herbivores like tapirs to the loss of a forest’s capacity to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in leaves, wood and roots.

The biggest trees in tropical forests, the ones that can store the most carbon, tend to have bigger seeds and rely on big, fruit-eating animals like tapirs, monkeys and large birds to disperse those seeds. “So what happens if we have forests that are empty? There will be cascade effects,” says Carolina Bello, an ecologist at São Paulo State University in Brazil, including possible changes to the amount of carbon a forest can hold.

Bello ran computer simulations of what would happen in Brazil’s Atlantic forest if the trees that depend on large fruit-eaters like tapirs, muriqui monkeys and jacutinga birds went extinct. She fou

Can Zoos Teach Us Compassion?
It happens that the offices of YES! are in a building complex that also houses Studio Hanson | Roberts, one of the leading zoo-design firms in the world. As a result, I recently found myself breaking bread with a group of folks shaping the future of U.S. zoos. The conversation quickly turned to the future of zoos, their relevance to modern society, and implications for how they are designed and managed—topics largely new to me.

England’s Paignton Zoo: Feeding Animals from the Ground Up
The Paignton Zoo, located in Devon, England, utilizes vertical farming practices to nourish some of its approximately 2,000 animals. Since 2009, this hydroponic vertical growing system, VertiCrop, has diversified animal feed while increasing its nutritional density.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) says that one of “the main rationales for the project was that Paignton Zoo as a large visitor attraction provides an ideal environment to trial and showcase a working model of the Verticrop system in Europe. This is at a time when there is a growing emphasis on food security, the limited extent of natural resources, and the implications of climate change on worldwide crop production. [Also,] the project represents the first zoo-based sustainable growing laboratory, showcasing an evolutionary step in the way crops can be grown for the public.”

The zoo’s hydroponic growing system is made up of different layers of crops, including lettuce and spinach. The sun’s rays hit the stacked p

Do Insects Have Consciousness?
This moral hornet’s nest was first stirred at a local meeting of the worldwide science and drinking club Nerd Nite in a Sydney, Australia, pub. Honeybee scientist Andrew Barron began chatting with philosopher Colin Klein, who initially swatted away the idea of insect consciousness. After all, insect brains are tiny and have just a million or so neurons, compared with a human’s average of 86 billion. Like many of us, Klein had assumed that insects are just collections of reflexes—that they are “dark inside,” he says—and this assumption jibed nicely with his habit of flushing the enormous cockroaches at his apartment down the toilet.

Dream A Little Dream
It's time we shed light on something that those of us in the zoo field have kept secret from the public for too long.   This topic is sensitive, but it perfectly illustrates how much we care about our animals.  Most of us don't make a lot of money, all of us work long hours and are not really "off" even when we're at home.  Some of us may work in an environment where we encounter animal rights extremists routinely, or in a place where we are considered "replaceable assets" (and you all know how I feel about that). 

We put up with a lot of uncomfortable situations in order to put the welfare of the animals in our care FIRST.  And why are we hiding the most obvious example of this from the world?  What am I t

Female zoo keeper hospitalised with facial injuries after she was attacked by a wedge-tailed eagle
A wedge-tailed eagle has attacked a female staff member at the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, leaving her with facial cuts.
The woman, believed to be in her 30s, was attacked just after 8.30am on Tuesday and was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.
The sanctuary's senior vet, Dr Michael Payne, said she was an 'experienced' staff member.

Freaking out about Zika? West Nile is the real killer
West Nile virus landed in the United States in the summer of 1999, starting in New York possibly with the blood of a sick bird on a ship or via an infected mosquito on a plane. Soon it had afflicted people in Queens with brain inflammation and killed birds at the Bronx Zoo.

Four years later, the virus had migrated across the country to California, far from Uganda, where it was first isolated in 1937. As of Sept. 1, West Nile has killed 229 people in the Golden State and sickened nearly 5,600. Last year a record 53 people died in California of the virus, and this year has the potential to end up as bad or even worse.

While the recent arrival in the U.S. of the Zika virus is getting most of the attention, public health experts consider West Nile to be a much more potent threat in California than Zika will ever be.

Through Sept. 1, the state has tallied 78 human West Nile cases in California this year – including a pair of deaths in Sacramento and Yolo counties. But it takes weeks for reporting and verification of West Nile cases to make it th

Taman Safari will be hosting the SEAZA Conference 
(a WAZA member) this year

So what do you think?

Can a New ‘Vaccine’ Stem the Frog Apocalypse?
A deadly fungus that’s been devastating frog populations is still spreading across the globe. In California, the chytrid fungus has moved inexorably across the Sierra Nevada from west to east, leaving thousands of frogs dead.

But Bay Area scientists are trying to turn the tide against the fungus with an experimental treatment, one that could matter to frogs worldwide.

They’re making a last-ditch effort to save the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog by immunizing it against chytrid.

Mountain yellow-legged frogs, found only in California’s alpine lakes, have been in steep decline due to the fungus as well as predation by non-nati

Japan's Notorious Dolphin Hunt Is Where the World's Aquariums Shop
The notorious annual dolphin hunt got underway last week in the small Japanese town of Taiji. During the six-month hunting season, terrified dolphins are violently herded into a narrow cove. Most are slaughtered — but scores of “good-looking” ones are captured and shipped off to aquariums.

The Taiji hunts always receive a barrage of condemnation, and especially so since the release of the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove” in 2009. While the hunters maintain they are culling dolphin “pests” who eat too many fish, the primary economic incentive for the Taiji drive hunts is the aquarium industry. Live dolphins sell for around $50,000, and this is what keeps the hunters in business.

If there were no demand for live dolphins from Taiji, it is highly likely this annual slaughter of hundreds of dolphins would cease.

After legal action last year from the advocacy group Australia for Dolphins and significant public pressure, the World Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums changed its policy and began to oppose the capture of cetaceans. To maintain membership in WAZA, all member aquariums had to agree not to buy dolphins from Taiji or any other drive hunt.

Strangely, the professional association that represents dolphin trainers hasn’t taken the same step. The International Marine Animal Trainers’ Assn. strongly opposes the dolphin slaughter that occurs in Taiji, but it accepts the capture of dolphins that happens during the same hunts. IMATA has a policy that e in September 2016

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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The European Otter exhibit at Animal Park Goldau in Switzerland
represents the animals natural habitat with running water, ponds with
long water edges, shallow and deep water, sand bath, hideouts and the
typical native vegetation. The water is recycled through wetlands.

Here is the German original:

We would like to thank Martina Schybli from Animal Park Goldau for
preparing this presentation.



ZooLex collaborates with Wroclaw Zoo in organizing an international zoo
design conference. The conference will take place in Wroclaw, Poland,
from 4th to 7th April 2017. The theme of the conference is "Animal
welfare through built-in enrichment".

Registration is open:



ZooLex published an article in the 2016 volume of the WAZA magazine, an
issue on the future of zoo and aquarium design:


We keep working on ZooLex ...

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

Japan's 2nd crested ibis display to open in Ishikawa
Japanese crested ibises being raised at the Ishikawa Zoo will make their public debut within the year, making them the first of their species to be publicly displayed in Japan outside of a facility in Sado.

Japanese crested ibises are currently on display at the Toki Fureai Plaza (Japanese crested ibis interaction plaza) in Sado.

The bird has been registered as a special natural monument by the government. Since 2010, crested ibises from the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center have been making Ishikawa Prefecture one of their dispersed breeding bases. The Ishikawa Zoo is currently raising a total of 13 ibises: six adults, and seven juvenile or recently hatched birds.

The Sado city government had express

Lucky orangutan couple await million-dollar home
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was excited to hear the good news today (Thursday), as American philanthropist and President of the Global Jewish Advocacy group AJC John Shapiro announced that he will be funding the construction of a home for an orangutan couple, a species that is severe in danger of extinction.

  International Zoo Design Conference

In the names of Wroclaw Zoo and ZooLex Zoo Design Organization we extend an invitation to participate in the International Zoo Design Conference that will take place in Wroclaw, Poland, from 4th to 7th April 2017.

The theme of the conference is
"Animal welfare through built-in enrichment".

We are suggesting several topics, but appreciate as well other topics relating to the theme of the conference. Speakers are invited to present best practice examples and visions for the future.

The suggested topics are as follows:

(underground, drainage, access for exchange indoors and outdoors)
- deep mulch: case studies of new and renovated exhibits for various species
- examples of various substrates in one exhibit

Built-in Enrichment for special needs:
- nocturnal and crepuscular animals: indoor and outdoor
- aquaria
- solitary animals: examples
- attracting free-range animals: case studies
- competing species in mixed species exhibits: best practice examples
- walk-through exhibits: getting visitors close without risk, what when it is closed?

Design with plants as built-in enrichment:
- Plants beyond decoration: examples of food, nesting, screening, shading
- Green walls: suitable types for indoors and outdoors
- Climbing structures: experiences with life trees and changeable structures
- Tree protection aesthetical and functional: examples for hoofstock, monkeys, aviaries
- Keeping trees alive during construction, droughts and storms

Designing for fresh browse:
- Growing browse in and around exhibits
- How to present browse species-specifially and attractively for visitors

Facilities for introducing and separating individuals:
- bachelor groups: best practices for various species
- large breeding groups
- mixing species: monitoring and capturing
- large exhibits, aviaries, aquaria
- release to the wild

Working with external experts
(local architects, zoo designers, consultants etc.):
- success stories from the clients' view and from the contractors' view
wrap-up: best practice for small, big, private, public institutions

This conference will be an opportunity to shape the future of zoo design, share expertise and network. For more information and for registration please visit

ZooSpensefull - "Thinking Outside the Zoo"
Are you going to win or are you going to lose?

Observation is a powerful method useful before and in all training sessions. It can make you win the session or lose the session. I remember working with Killer whales one of the senior trainers in Spain telling me Peter pay attention to the animals the whole day, look how they swim, where they swim and with whom they swim with. You will learn a whole lot more what will effect your training sessions. Since then I have this thought in my head about observation and if done right how much effect this has for your training.

Since October 2014 I’m working in the Zoo setting again. I took this observation method with me but can you imagine with the amount of animals in the Zoo (ca 600 individuals) I can’t do this to every specie? With a background of marine mammals, I am learning a lot about the different actions and behaviours that the animals give me or each other just by looking at them. There are so many more behaviours the animals show us what we do not know about. Lately I start to ask myself more and more w

Up until now, scientists and the world had only recognised a single species of giraffe made up of several subspecies. But, according to the most inclusive genetic analysis of giraffe relationships to date, giraffe actually are not one species, but four. For comparison, the genetic differences among giraffe species are at least as great as those between polar and brown bears.
The unexpected findings reported in Current Biology on 8 September 2016 highlights the urgent need for further and in-depth study of the four genetically isolated species and for greater conservation efforts for the world’s tallest mammal, the researchers say.
“We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited,” says Dr. Axel Janke, a geneticist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Goethe University in Germany. “Giraffe are also assumed to have similar ecological requirements across their range”, he added, “but no on

Are big conservation groups like IUCN still relevant?
A big conservation jamboree is on in Hawaii over 1-10 September. Some 9,000 delegates from 190 countries, including heads of state, government officials, scientists, indigenous people and business leaders, will share, debate and act on the latest issues in conservation and sustainable development, and define a global path for nature conservation for the future.

If you were a student of conservation science like me, you would be in awe of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). With its scientific assessments, the Red List and its specialist groups, you would follow this international institution seriously. You would admire and look up to the people who work there and consider yourself to have arrived in the scientific world if you were to become co-chair of the specialist groups.

Even if you aren’t into conservation, the acronym itself represents something big. IUCN is the only environmental organization that holds a place in the United Nations General Assembly, giving it an important and unique passport to international discu

Lebanon’s wildlife villain
A lack of rules enables the illicit trade
In the shade the temperature reached 34 degrees celsius as Executive met Samir Ghattas at Animal City for an interview in early August. “I turned this place into nature,” he said, “the zoo is my baby.” Executive had visited the zoo two weekends prior to this meeting, first posing as tourists in order to photograph conditions at Animal City and later to take photographs by invitation. What was clear was that conditions of captivity were less than ideal: wildlife lacked water in the sweltering heat and cages hardly provided shade from the sun. Executive also wanted to learn whether allegations of wildlife trafficking were true and wanted to find out more about the zoo’s business model.

It is not profitable, Ghattas says of Animal City, but how much money the zoo is losing is not clear. Over the course of a 90 minute interview Ghattas declined to give many specifics on the zoo’s financial performance or its expenses. He did claim that he subsidizes the zoo with cash from his other businesses or his own pocket, though he wouldn’t say how much. He also said that average attendance per year stood at 70,000 visitors. With each visitor paying $5 entry, that would amount to a total of up to $350,000 in an

Is Thailand serious about curbing trade in tigers?
Three months after famous Tiger Temple was raided and shut down the fate of the big cats seized, and the suspects arrested, is uncertain; meanwhile, anti-trafficking groups suspect legal tiger zoos and illegal farms continue to feed trade in the beasts, dead or alive
With a ferocious roar, Pu Ying leaps at the man who just shot her – but succeeds only in striking the bars of her enclosure. After 15 minutes of confused groaning, shaking her head under the effect of a powerful cocktail of ketamine and diazepam, the young tiger falls asleep. Veterinarians cover her eyes with a piece of cloth, place her on a stretcher and conduct medical tests.

“We are checking the heartbeat and the blood pressure, and also taking a few samples for further DNA analysis,” explains one of th

Is the Auckland Zoo out of touch with modern conservation?
Wild birds in a cage...Is the Auckland Zoo out of touch with modern conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand?

The tīeke, or North Island saddleback, is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s greatest conservation success stories. They were reduced to just one island population of 500 birds in the 1960s. But an ambitious translocation programme, initiated by the New Zealand Wildlife Service, continued by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, and more recently by community based conservation groups, has increased the global population to at least 10 000 birds scattered across 18 islands and 5 protected mainland sites. North Island saddlebacks are now secure and extinction is very unlikely.

The critical aspect of this conservation success story is that it focussed on creating new free living populations in natural habitats. This work with wild populations has contributed to New Zealand’s outstanding international reputation for innovative and effective conservation management. This is a far cry from the conservation ethic of the 1800s which involved shooting birds such as saddlebacks, stuffing them, and then displaying them in a glass case.

The Auckland Zoo has decided to celebrate North Island saddlebacks during conservation week 2016, but in quite a contrasting manner. They recently visited Tiritiri Matangi, one of the protected, free living populations, captured 10 wild birds and transferred them to the zoo where they will spend the rest of their lives in captivity in cages far smaller and simpler than the natural habitat they were born to.

So why is the Auckland Zoo capturing wild saddlebacks and confining them to cages for the rest of their lives? It is rare for modern zoos to capture wild animals and there is no need for a captive saddleback breeding programme. The zoo could never produce meaningful numbers of saddlebacks, there are considerable disease risks when transferring birds from zoos to the wild and captive bred birds often fare poorly after release.

That leaves “conservation advocacy”. This a

Polish councilor suspects local zoo is doing Putin's bidding
A councilor from the ruling Polish Law and Justice Party in the town of Poznan has accused the local zoo of being "a Russian agent."
Michal Grzes has accordingly submitted a formal question to the mayor where he claims that the zoo is implementing "a foreign power's strategy" - specifically, that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It concerns the zoo's intention to host pairs of Persian leopards, an endangered species, help them reproduce and then release the offspring back into the wild.

However, Grzes observed that Putin, too, has been for years "propagating" the same cause of saving this species.

"I had to intervene," he told Poland's TVN24, explaining why Poznan's city hall was now dealing with his question about

The way Audubon Zoo used to be
If you've ever visited New Orleans' Audubon Zoo, it's all but guaranteed that you've seen it. You might've stopped to take a picture of it. You might've set your watch by it. Depending on your age, you've probably even tried to climb atop it at some point.

It is a well-worn sundial, situated atop a stone pedestal, right smack in the middle of the zoo near what was the facility's original main entrance. What you might not have noticed, however, was the name emblazoned on the side: "Valentine Merz."

It's not exactly a household name, but it's one worth knowing. Without it, there might not even be an Audubon Zoo at all -- at least, not as we know it.

Valentine Merz was born in Indiana and moved to New Orleans in 1870, where he forged a name for himself in a number of fields, from banking to brewing to barkeeping. (Among other things, Merz was part of the group of investors who founded Dixie Brewing Co. in the fall of 1906.) In his later years, he developed a fondness for taking regular evening strolls with his wife in the gardens of Audubon Park, formerly the site of the 1884 World Exposition and, before that, the grounds of Etienne De Bore's storied sugar plantation.

As early as 1894, efforts to establish a zoo on the site had been pitched to city leaders. The problem was that there was no money in the city's budget for a proper zoo, so improvements proce

Episode 566: The Zoo Economy
Zoo animals are different than most possessions, because zoos follow a fundamental principle: You can't sell or buy the animals. It's unethical and illegal to put a price tag on an elephant's head. But money is really useful—it lets you know who wants something, and how much they want it. It lets you get rid of things you don't need, and acquire things that you do need. It helps allocate assets where they are most valued. In this case, those assets are alive, and they nee

New inspections describe animal deaths at Baton Rouge Zoo as 'unfortunate events with no common thread'
The high-profile deaths of giraffes, a tiger and monkeys at the Baton Rouge Zoo over a short time span is "a string of unfortunate events that have no common thread," according to a new batch of inspections of the facility.

The Baton Rouge Zoo asked for three separate audits from its accrediting agency, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the wake of several unusual animal deaths over the past several months. The combination of those deaths this spring while zoo officials began lauding a $110 million rebuilding campaign sparked outcry and distrust from some political leaders and the residents they represent.

But none of the audits into how the zoo is run and the events leading to animals' deaths have found wrongdoing from the zoo staff. The audits instead pin the deaths on problems like weather, animal stress and unpreventable health conditions.

Lebanon to tame lion owners with new laws
The super-rich of Lebanon are buying lion cubs from zoos for bargain prices. But one animal rights organization is behind a government crackdown to stop the practice.
Tucked between a parking garage and a hospital is one of Lebanon's infamous zoos. But this institution may soon to feel the heat from the government here, which aims to crack down specifically on how they treat big cats.
And it's not hard to see why. In this tiny, dilapidated zoo, two lions are kept in a cage measuring 8 by 10 meters (about 26 by 33 feet). There is not even enough water for them in the sweltering summer heat of 30-plus degrees Celsius (85-plus degrees Fahrenheit), and the animals seem exhausted.
Today (01.09.2016), the Lebanese government will introduce new laws that attempt to force zoos to take the welfare of their big cats more seriously. And if enforced, the rules are likely to impact not only zoos.
Despite its grinding poverty, Lebanon has a contingent of rich individuals who keep fully grown lions and tigers in their homes - in some cases, even in Beirut apartments.
In fact, it's this same poverty that drives an illegal, underground business of animal trafficking. Cash-strapped zoos can make real money from selling lions, tigers and cheetahs to families of the country's elite during a period where the rest of the country can ill afford the 3-euro ($3.30) entrance fee.
Lack of awareness
The zoos themselves are in pretty dismal state, generally keeping animals in appalling conditions - according to Jason Mier, director of Animals Lebanon, "ofte

Photographs of people playing with tigers encourages others to want to do the same
Don't post on social media

Massimo Bergamini: The importance of zoos
The death this year of Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo’s western lowland silverback gorilla, continues to inflame online passions, spur the creation of viral memes and provide fodder for anti-zoo commentary.

National Post columnist Colby Cosh was the latest to jump into the fray, arguing the lesson we should take from Harambe’s death is that zoos are bad, and we know this because journalist H.L. Mencken said so about 100 years ago. But if you look beyond Cosh’s bizarre attempt to characterize zookeepers as gun-toting desperadoes and his (demonstrably incorrect) suggestion that the research taking place at zoos has no in-the-field applications, you’ll find that, at its root, his article — and the public reaction to Harambe’s death — actually makes a case for zoos.

The zoos that existed in Mencken’s time had about as much in common with modern zoos as his newsroom at the Baltimore Sun had in common with that of the newspaper today. But let’s take his argument that we can only learn from animals “in a state of nature” at face value and see what lessons the critically endangered wild western lowland gorillas can impart.

Former head of Cherry Brook Zoo sues for wrongful dismissal
The former chief administrative director of the Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John is taking his former employer to court for wrongful dismissal.

A notice of action and statement of claim has been filed against the zoo and members of the board of trustees. The suit alleges Leonard Collrin and his wife Linda were escorted by police from their home at the zoo on July 6th.

Rare stick insects breed at Bristol Zoo
One of the world's rarest stick insects has successfully bred at Bristol Zoo - the first time the species has done so outside Australia.
Three pairs of Lord Howe Island stick insects have reached adulthood and laid eggs after they themselves hatched from eggs brought from Melbourne Zoo.
The critically endangered creature was thought to be extinct for almost 80 years until its rediscovery in 2001.
Only about 20-30 individuals are left in the wild.
Mark Bushell, curator of invertebrates at Bristol Zoo, said he was "ecstatic".

A Must-Read Review of the Wild-Caught Aquarium Fish Sector
We all are used to reading and witnessing attacks on the ornamental aquatic industry, which is accused of ransacking, plundering and even “raping” the world’s reefs and freshwater habitats to satisfy an insatiable consumer hunger for aquarium fish. Often, the accusations include false statistics, such as stating that more than 90 percent of marine fish are collected with sodium cyanide. Evidence and data used in these attacks often are out-dated or simply incorrect.

It’s time the industry stood up for itself, not just by refuting accusations with good science, but by proactively showing the world the true face of the industry. In fact, the U.K.’s Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) did this in a well-researched report “Wild caught ornamental fish—the trade, the benefits, the facts,” which knocks the whole issue into perspective.

For example, did you know that the total volume of marine fish caught for home aquaria represents, at most, a mere 0.0001 percent of the fish harvested from the sea for human consumption and other purposes? Further, large numbers of food and other fish are thrown back as unwanted bycatch, thus wasting vast amounts of a potentially valuable resource.

The report resulted from a one-year review program by David Roberts, Ph.D., and Ian Watson of the U.K.’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) of the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, with additional input from

Shedd Aquariums World of Water: What It Takes to Keep a Quality Environment for Animals
For a bunch of air-breathers, those of us trusted to keep our animals healthy and thriving are up to our “gills” as we’re tasked to think about our water quality at Shedd Aquarium. As we near the end of National Water Quality Month, it’s important to reflect and think about why water quality is a critical issue 365 days a year, not just during the month of August.
Animals - whether in an aquarium environment or in a native environment - have no control over the quality of the water around them. We do. As a result, we have an obligation to ensure the very best water quality possible. At Shedd, this means putting the right water for the right purpose in the right place. That’s no small task! Water comes in all forms at Shedd - clear, cloudy, salt, fresh, warm, cold - the list goes on! These conditions are carefully analyzed and adjusted as needed to create the best home for the animals that spend their lives swimming inside it.

How do we do that? We start in our own backyard, in the same waters of Lake Michigan that millions of people in the Chicagoland area use daily to drink, clean and cook with. All water that we use for our habitats at Shedd is first put through a massive charcoal filter - think about a home water filtration system, and multiply that by about 10,000. That’s where the water for our habitats begins its journey. This removes impurities like chlorine, which can be poisonous to our amphibians and fish. From there, we apply a variety of techniques to purify this water, like running it through a reverse osmosis membrane - a very specialized filter that removes dissolved salts and other molecules that even charcoal can’t capture. This process is necessary in our Amazon Rising habitats because Amazon river water in the native habitat is known to be very low in dissolved salts and we must replicate that for animals that have evolved in that type of water.

But that’s just the start. Next, we must ensure the water is the right mix for the right habitat. Our Caribbean Reef exhibit - home to rescued sea turtle Nickel, stingrays and bonnethead sharks - requires added sa

Horrible Zoo Puts Dogs And Cats Behind Bars
When Colleen Hegarty went to Bahrain, a tiny country off the coast of Saudi Arabia, on a Fulbright scholarship, she had no idea she'd end up bringing a dog back home to Florida with her.

But during her 10-month stay in Bahrain, Hagarty discovered Cooper in the most shocking place. He hadn't been a street dog or a shelter dog.

Why Volunteering With Animals Does Nothing For Conservation
Lots of people want to give up their free time to help support conservation. By ‘lots’ I mean relatively – google shows 2,900 searches* for ‘conservation volunteering’ last month – but still, that’s pretty good. This is brilliant news of course, and should be wholeheartedly applauded.

Overall, this must add up to tens of thousands of hours of effort from volunteers every year, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations/fundraising to make it possible. With all this money and effort, conservation could really go places. I should leave it there and chalk it up as a success story. There are lots of ways to support conservation, but truth be told every time someone comes up to me after a talk and says they want to help conservation so are heading off to A) An elephant orphanage, B) A primate sanctuary or C) To work with big cats, my heart sinks.

Zoos: For whose benefit – man’s or animal’s ?
Close zoos, Do not close zoos, Close some zoos – this is the current debate worldwide.

A debate has now begun in Sri Lanka.

DOC ZONE in Zoo Revolution : History of Zoos traces zoo history from 3500 BC to 2007, some milestones being: 3500 B.C, recent excavations near Hierkonpolis, Egypt discovered the earliest zoo, when remains of exotic animals  were found buried;1500 B.C.,Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut maintained a zoo; 1752, the oldest existing zoo,Tiergarten (Austria) opened; 1793, the first modern zoo opened in Paris; 1828,London zoo opened with a template for modern zoos with taxonomic displays and wrought iron cages; 1752,Tierpark(Germany) became the first zoo to combine naturalistic landscapes and barless enclosures; 1963,the first safari park Tama(Tokyo)opened; 2007,the first game reserve Gondwana (South Africa)opened.

DOC ZONE says that the belief was that Pharaohs would have demanded that wild animals be captured for their amusement, enemy intimidation or hunting, to show their wealth and power.

WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) founded in 1946  to guide  zoos and aquariums on animal welfare, education and global conservation, has over 280 members, reportedly including the Dehiwela Zoo.
Animal rights expert Doris Linsays, “Not all animal rights activists love animals. Some respect them because they understand animals have a place in the world. Zoos, especially the ones that are doing everything right, present a special challenge to the animal-loving advoc

The Attica Zoological Park Receives Four Dolphins from Finland
Four bottlenose dolphins were transferred to their new home at the Attica Zoological Park in Greece during what was described as a “covert operation” by Yle, Finland’s national public broadcasting company.

The four dolphins named Veera, Delfi, Leevi and Eevertti were living at the Särkänniemi’s amusement park dolphinarium in Tampere, where the facility is set to close down.

A large cargo plane arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning around 4:30 a.m. according to reports by Yle, and transferred the dolphins from the Tampere-Pirkkala airport to Athens.

The four dolphins arrived at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata on Sunday morning where they will live out the rest of their days in the company of other dolphins at the Zoo’s facility.

Yle confirmed that the transfer of the four dolphins was done at no cost

Cookie the Cockatoo at Brookfield Zoo dies
Cookie, an at least 83-year-old cockatoo and one of Chicago’s best known zoo animals, died over the weekend at Brookfield Zoo, the zoo announced Monday.

“On Saturday morning, Cookie suffered a very abrupt decline in his health, prompting the veterinary and animal care staff to make the extremely difficult decision that it was time to peacefully euthanize him,” Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for Chicago Zoological Society, which runs Brookfield, said in a statement.

In addition to generations of fans, the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo could claim many superlatives. He was the last animal that dates back to the zoo’s original collection, in 1934; the oldest living animal at Brookfield; “one of the longest-lived birds on record,” according to the online Animal Ageing and Longevity Database; and “Oldest Parrot - Living” as certified by Guinness World Records in 2014.

The press took note, too, often covering the zoo’s annual birthday celebrations for the parrot.

“Like some cockeyed vaudevillian comic in a loud suit and a funny hat, Cookie, an old cockatoo, always has relied on exaggera

HCMC to hire foreign consultants for Saigon Safari Park project
Accordingly, Vinpearl Company will be responsible for paying all consulting fees.

The city’s government has asked the Department of Transport to open Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes connecting the city center to the park’s adjacent areas and expand Nguyen Thi Ranh road.

The municipal authorities have also required Cu Chi Dsitrict to complete the compensation in September.

Saigon Safari Park covers on an area of more than 485 hectares. The project would require a total investment of US$500 million.

The park will be the city’s new zoo to house most of the animals currently in residence at the Sai Gon Zoo. The current Sai Gon Zoo will expand upon its existing gardens to become a full botanical garden, home to rare plants and some animals. The new zoo is expected to become the largest ecotourism facility in the country.

Saigon Safari Park focusing on wildlife conservation and the breeding of rare plants and animals will includes an open zoo, a night safari, a butterfly garden, a

 New literature in the Rhino Resource Center

California to impose fines for using elephant bullhooks
Trainers who use bullhooks to discipline elephants in California will soon be subject to steep fines under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Democratic governor announced Monday that he signed SB1062 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Bell Gardens Democrat.
Individuals, zoos, circuses or other organizations caught using bullhooks, baseball bats, pitchforks or other harmful devices will be subject to fines up to $10,000. They could also lose their elephant permit.
Animal welfare groups say the tools are inhumane, but some opponents of the legislation say they can facilitate care and research when used properly.
Brown vetoed a bill last year that would have criminalized the us

Taiping Zoo and Night Safari needs donations for animal feed
The Taiping Zoo and Night Safari needs contributions from corporations and corporate members to cover the expenses of animal feed which is increasing.

Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) president Datuk Abd Rahim Md Ariff said the cost of food for the animals was more than RM4 million a year.

He said to reduce its burden, the zoo had introduced an adoption programme since 1994 to get sponsors to cover the cost of animal feed.

The zoo is offering five packages to companies – the platinum package with donations of RM50,000 and above; gold package (between RM30,000 and RM49,999); silver package (between RM10,000 and RM29,999); bronze package (between RM1,000 and RM9,999); and 'ikhlas' package (between RM100 and RM999).

"By sponsoring the food, they will help the ani

Bowmanville Zoo staffer talks PETA allegations
Efforts to raise money to help rehome about 300 animals at the Bowmanville Zoo has received backlash online.

Plans to hold a special fundraising event featuring members of Justin Bieber’s family on Aug. 28 were altered after the zoo said PETA and its supporters on social media lashed out at the pop star and his father Jeremy.

“PETA called Jeremy and bombarded him and people sent him mean messages,” explained Alex Haditaghi, a spokesman for the zoo. “He rescinded his RSVP and we understand why he had to do that.”

Despite a change of plans, the event originally called Bieber Family Fun Day was held.

Visitors to the zoo were treated to a free BBQ and a chance to get up close with several baby big cats.

Madison Thompson, 21, an animal handler, took young white lion cub Alex around the grounds for guests to see. She was often caught snuggling up to the cub, kissing him and giving him extra treats.

A self-described animal lover, Ms. Thompson said if the allegations People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made against Bowmanville Zoo co-owner Michael Hackenberger were true, “I wouldn’t work here.” She has been employed by the zoo since she was 15.

An undercover video posted online in December 2015 by PETA allegedly shows Mr. Hackenberger whipping a tiger during a training session. Also seen in that video, with her face blurred out, is Ms. Thompson.

In an effort to clear up some of the confusion and criticism, Ms. Thompson decided to share her story for the first time with

She said the woman who shot the footage came to the zoo as a volunteer. Ms. Thompson said Mr. Hackenberger and staff were told that she had a degree in animal behaviour and “she was intrigued with animal training.

“She worked here with us, with me, for two or three weeks,” explained Ms. Thompson. “She was wearing a camera the whole time.”

It turns out the volunteer was an activist working undercover for PETA, who had “done this type of thing before, at a ranch in the U.S.”

“This is so hard. We are all Michael’s support system. We are in t

Dreams of an African zoo north of Brisbane end as land listed for sale
IT was once earmarked as the future site of an African-inspired zoo, but that dream appears quashed with the prime northside site listed for sale for $27 million.

The 25.5ha site on Linkfield Rd, Bald Hills, has been owned by John Bowman for more than 30 years. Mr Bowman once harboured grand designs for the site — primarily the development of an African-inspired zoo.

Real estate agent and owner of RE/MAX A1 AJ Bakshi said there had already been a lot of interest in the land — which could potentially be sold in three smaller lots of 20 acres (8ha), 20 (8ha) a

One of the World’s Rarest Animals May Be on the Verge of Extinction in Iran
Only two female Asiatic cheetahs are known to be alive in the wild

The rare Asiatic cheetah, already severely endangered, may be in greater danger of extinction than ever before, as conservationists say only two females of the species are known to survive in the only country where it exists: Iran.

Only 40 Asiatic cheetahs remain in the wild, all of them in Iran, the Guardian reports. Conservationists worry that without an adequate female population, the

Oryx return to Chad thanks to UAE breeding programme
The scimitar-­horned oryx has been brought back from extinction in the wilds of Chad thanks to the late Sheikh Zayed and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency.

Repopulating the oryx, believed to have been poached to extinction in the wild 25 years ago, was one of the conservation passions of the UAE’s Founding Father.

As part of Ead’s reintroduction programme, 25 oryx bred in captivity in the UAE were released in the central African country and are being monitored by the Sahara Conservation Fund to see how they adapt to life in the wild.

"There have been no sightings for more than 25 years due to unregulated hunting, loss of habitat and lack of resources for conservation," said Razan Al Mubarak, secretary general of Ead.

"Leading the programme, which endeavours to reinstate a viable population of this majestic creature in its home range of Chad, is a dream come true."

The project will build a self-sustaining population by releasing between 300 and 500 oryx over the next five years.

The International Union of the Conservation of Nature listed the scimitar-horned oryx as extinct in the wild in 2000, although they are believed to have disappeared 10 years befoe that.

Since then, the animal, which naturally roams the sub-Saharan grasslands of Africa, from Senegal to Sudan, existed only in private collections.

One such collection was Sheikh Zayed’s oryx herd, which he ­decreed be protected in a wildlife reserve during his rule.

Ead’s task was to help transfer the oryx population, which today numbers 3,000 specimens, back to their endemic

Asiatic black bear donated from N. Korea dies
An Asiatic black bear, which came to South Korea in 1999 as a gift from North Korea, died of old age on Tuesday, according to Seoul Zoo, Wednesday. The bear, named Eutteumi, was presumed to be 20 years old.

She was one of the five Asiatic black bears inhabiting the zoo in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province.

The zoo said it will perform an autopsy to identify the exact cause of her death. The life expectancy of Asiatic black bears is usually 25 years.

The bear was a symbol of inter-Korean cultural exchanges as the two Koreas exchanged wild, native animals in 1999. North Korea donated Eutteumi and a male bear to the South as a gift along with a tiger, red foxes and silver foxes.

Eutteumi, which was presumed to be three years old when she arrived, was blind when she got here.

During her time at the zoo, she had six cubs, two each in 2006, 2009 and 2011. One has been living with her at the zoo, while the other five were sent to Mt. Jiri for the National Park Service's project to recover the habitat for the bears. As the bears on the mountain have bred in the wild, there are now 44 bears c

What should we do about the 15,000 Asian elephants still in captivity?
Nearly one in three Asian elephants live in captivity – about 15,000 in all. The existence of such large captive population of this endangered, intelligent, and long-living animal poses a number of ethical and practical challenges, but also some opportunities.

Asian elephants, like most land-based megafauna, are endangered and might not survive in the wild beyond the 21st century. As the largest terrestrial animals, elephants are very important for the health of tropical ecosystems – they are like forest gardeners who plant, fertilise and prune trees.

Asian elephants are also remarkable in their cultural significance. They may have been tamed as far back as 6,000 BC, and elephants have since been used for warfare, transport, and as status symbols. They’ve sometimes even been worshipped as deities. Even nowadays, people in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand venerate elephants in a way that is difficult for outsiders to understand.

It is because of the cultural significance of Asian elephants that so many of them live in captivity (African elephants can and used to be tamed but, for comparison, only one in 700 currently live in captivity). Unlike dogs, horses, or pigs, elephants are not domestic animals, in the sense that we (humans) do not control their breeding. The large majority of captive elephants were born in the wild and eventually capture

Miles the dibbler marks milestone for Perth Zoo breeding program
A species once thought to be extinct, the Western Australian dibbler, has reached a milestone, with Perth Zoo weaning its 1,000th baby under a repopulation program.

The zoo has been working since 1997 to re-establish numbers of the tiny marsupial in WA, after introduced predators and habitat loss saw their populations severely dwindle.

Zookeeper Lesley Shaw said staff did not normally name baby dibblers but they made an exception for the 1,000th, naming him Miles.

"It's always very exciting when you get to a milestone

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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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